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From a Slave Child to a High School Graduate: The Story of Mark Manwu.


Little Mark Manwu scoops water out of a canoe with his small rubber bucket. [Picture Credit: The New York Times]
Little Mark Manwu scoops water out of a canoe with his small rubber bucket. [Picture Credit: The New York Times]

He was only six years old when he ended up slaving for a fisherman on the Volta Lake of Ghana as a result of child trafficking and forced labour. He had been taken away from his parents who lived hundreds of miles away and was now subjected to inhumane living and working conditions every single day. As a slave child, he had to work long hours – from dawn to night – doing whatever work his master commanded. He couldn’t do work that required a lot of strength such as rowing a canoe, casting a net over the waters of the lake or drawing in the nets after a catch of fish because he was so young and tiny; so when he went on fishing expeditions with his master or older slave boys, his role was to use a small rubber bucket to scoop water out of the canoe. Sometimes water got inside the canoe as a result of the waves on the lake. At other times, leakages on the canoe allowed water to seep into the canoe. While the older boys did the “hard work,” his work was to scoop the water out of the canoe as fast as he could. For a six-year-old who was malnourished and often famished, that was more than hard work in the hot sun on a leaking boat in the middle of a lake. It was also a very dangerous work, considering the fact that he did not wear a life jacket and did not know how to swim.



Mark Manwu arrives at Village of Hope (December 2006)
Mark Manwu arrives at Village of Hope (December 2006)

That was the life of Mark Manwu until grace found him, love rescued him and hope gave him a future. For many children who found themselves in a similar situation, after years of enslavement, they lost their identity, self-worth and, eventually, their lives. However, because of the grace of God and the love of caring people, Mark was rescued by George Achibra, founder of Partners in Community Development (PACODEP) – a non-profit that works to rescue and rehabilitate trafficked children on Lake Volta. After rescuing him, George Achibra brought Mark to live at the Village of Hope where he received loving Christian nurturing, healthcare, education, etc.



First Day of School: Matilda Adu-Poku (House Parent and Teacher) with 7 children who had been rescued from slavery. Mark Manwu is the second from right.
First Day of School: Matilda Adu-Poku (House Parent and Teacher) with 7 children who had been rescued from slavery. Mark Manwu is the second from right.

Graduation from Preschool / Kindergarten: Mark Manwu receives preschool certificate.
Graduation from Preschool / Kindergarten: Mark Manwu receives preschool certificate.

Mark has virtually lived his entire life, since he was rescued, at the Village of Hope. Soon after his arrival on the Village of Hope campus, he was enrolled at Hope Christian Academy where he had his elementary education from Pre-Kindergarten through 9th grade. He continued to Hope College for his high school education and successfully graduated from high school on October 1, 2022, on the occasion of the 10th-anniversary celebration and 8th graduation ceremony of Hope College.


Mark Manwu is an example of how Village of Hope fulfills its mission of saving lives and serving humanity through rescuing, repairing, preparing and propelling those in need. Join us in prayer for Mark so that he will further prepare himself through college education and be propelled to be all that God wants him to be to the glory of God. Mark’s story should also be an encouragement to all those who sponsor children.


For 16 long years, Jason and Jennifer Hackmann have sponsored Mark and watched him grow from a little tiny boy into a confident young man. The transformation has been phenomenal. We are grateful to all whose sponsorship and donations have given a new lease of life to orphaned, abandoned, destitute and needy children. May God continue to bless you all.


Graduation from High School: Mark Manwu receives his 12th grade certificate.
Graduation from High School: Mark Manwu receives his 12th grade certificate.




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