Maisha organization (Germany) has organized a 5-day program which seeks to empower women who went through difficulties on migration to sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world respectively in Ghana. Maisha means “life” in Swahili. It is a self-help organization of African women in Germany (NGO) which was founded in 1996 by the executive director Mrs Virginia Wangare Greiner.
The objectives of Maisha Organization (Germany) is;
• To improve the living conditions of African women in Germany.
• Address health, integration, intercultural communication, language, education, work, career, finances, partnership and family.
• Assist in dealing with German authorities and other authorities.
• Psycho- social counselling.
• Empower migrant women and refugees.
Projects done by Maisha Germany includes the following; Health and Social Services, FGM Project, Mother Child Meetings, International Women‘s Meeting, Language courses, Drum & Dance courses, Health Dance – Makossa, Fitness for Women, Sewing courses, Racial Justice Sunday and Seminars & Workshops.
The program is divided into two parts which consist of a morning and afternoon sessions.
Day 1 of the program started with a welcome address by the executives of Maisha organization, to brief participants of their purpose of gathering, what they are to expect in the upcoming days and what they will be leaving with at the end of training as well as give participants the opportunity to share and exchange their experiences on migration and problems encountered.
Maisha Akwaaba II project, seeks to tackle the difficulties of Sahara/gendered journeys where women in particular are molested and lured blindly into hard labor of which they never dreamt of.
The second day of the program was a lecture titled “False claims and promises by traffickers”.
The session begun with an introductory message by Mrs. Virginia Wangare Greiner who stated that the aim of the organization was to help women with skills to improve upon themselves and help them travel through the right means. This idea brought about an opening of Maisha Ghana branch which will aid women to easily come forth with challenges they face with migration problems and see how best they can lend a helping hand to them as well as give consultation to these ladies at any point in time they needed.
Mrs. Virginia Wangare Greiner also advised ladies to get a thorough checkup since they were not able to have appropriate meals over the years. Since she is a Nutritionist, she encouraged the ladies to get more supplements and vitamins which would aid in the improvement of their health. After the introduction, awards were rewarded to individual group for their participation in the previous presentation.
Emphasis were laid on the fact that social media has given human traffickers a new platform to recruit and lure victims. With Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc., human traffickers have had access to over a billion people. The unfortunate reality is that, social media sites are full of criminals offering false marriage proposals, online relationships and employment and educational opportunities. He further on went to say that only when the victim meets with the potential lover or employer, does she realize she has been trafficked. It was noted that it really becomes problematic when the trafficker is a family member, family friend or boyfriend.
The session ended as the participants gave off a little drama depicting the topic; what will be your response to someone who promises to help you travel out of the country and make your dreams come true?
Day 3’s session involved an introductory message from Mrs. Virginia Wangare Greiner who welcomed participants for joining Maisha Ghana Akwaaba project II. Awards were given to the various groups for their presentations on the previous day, after which Mr. Adu Ernest, an associate with Credit Union Training Centre, gave an encouraging message urging participants to learn how to save in order not to rely on any other source but their hard earnings.
This was followed by the day’s lecture by Dr. Garnet Algernon Parris titled “Illegal travelling in the Sahara; the dangerous realities of dealing with people smugglers”.
It was stated that on average, one migrant child has died per day since 2014. A report by the UN’s migration office said that children are dying during migration at alarming rates, most of them perishing on the Mediterranean. The deadliest route for children are those that involve water crossings. Emphasis were made on the fact that the Mediterranean was the deadliest and most fatal migration route in the world, where over 17,900 people and more died between 2014 and 2018. Others have drowned and till date, their identities cannot be made out. Libyan slavery stories were spoken about as stories of people who were taken in as slaves in Libya were narrated. They had no contact with their families and were maltreated all the time.
In February 2017, a Sky documentary, described Libya as ‘Hell’ for migrants. The question on board for individual participants were;
- What are the issues in the Mediterranean and Saharan throughout the whole journey?
- Why should one embark on such a journey?
On the fourth day the introductory message was given by Pastor Offei and Mrs. Virginia Wangare Greiner who interrogated the participants about the program and the things they have learnt so far. Dr. Parris came in afterwards with today’s topic and tasked individual groups about community mapping and with the following questions on illegal migration;
- Who do I want to reach?
- Where should I meet them?
- Where is the best place(s) to meet with other women
There was a break and participants were given the chance to discuss the topic at hand and later present their work. The advice given was that, before they go out, they should do more research and gain accurate information before reaching out to people. There was a fun section as participants danced and made merry before the results of their presentation was given out. At the end of the drama, Group 2 came out first with 97marks, Group 1 came out second with 81marks, Group 3 came out third with 72marks and Group 4 came out fourth with sixty marks. They were all rewarded and were urged to preach whatever they had said in their presentations.
Pastor Offei came in with advice on how best they can improve themselves and encouraged them to reach out to more people out there. Dr. Parris climaxed the session by encouraging the participants to improve more on themselves and the session came to an end.