HISTORY OF DREAM ON
Dream On was established by Jennifer Millett-Barrett after she joined a grassroots effort to build a children’s home and two schoolhouses in Ghana in 2007. Little did Jennifer know, her journey of empowering children through education, clean water, and community health programs would take an unexpected turn to rescuing children from violent and oppressive abuse.
Jennifer discovered the heartbreaking truth that physical and sexual abuse had been taking place at the very children’s home she had helped to create. Upon further investigation, she uncovered that the director of the orphanage was using the children as laborers to construct his personal businesses. He profited from the children’s misery and forced them to smile for unsuspecting and kind-hearted volunteers and donors. Jennifer also discovered that other such operations existed in Ghana. She became determined to rescue and restore health to the children who had been victimized.
Dream On adopted the three-prong approach — prevention, protection, and prosecution — that was formulated by the United Nations and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children . Our prevention programs have consisted of a wide variety of efforts to reduce disease, educate children, initiate community health programs, and empower women. Prosecution of criminals is vital, not only to achieve justice on behalf of the victims, but for governments to publicly condemn criminal acts and deter the abuse and trafficking of children and women. As part of its prosecution efforts, Dream On collaborates with its partners on investigations, legal cases, and witness protection.
The protection of victims is a central program at Dream On. The Department of Social Welfare in Ghana enacted the Child Care Reform Initiative in 2007, which led to the closure of many children’s homes across Ghana over the next several years. With our ongoing efforts to rescue children from abuse and limited options for safe rehabilitative homes, Dream On expanded its efforts to provide protective programs and created the Dream On Residential Home in partnership with the Enslavement Prevention Alliance – West Africa. For over a decade, Dream On has persevered in the face of corruption and fought for the rights of children in a country where there is a dearth of protective services.
Dream On acknowledges a fourth “P” in its action plan that has been critical to its success — partnerships. Dream On collaborates with government institutions and agencies, tribal elders and chiefs, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to advocate for some of Ghana’s most vulnerable children. In a country where resources are limited and children are vulnerable to exploitation, Dream On provides a critical service in protecting victims and paving the way to a brighter future.
Dream On has an unwavering dedication to human rights and the belief that every person has a right to be free to follow his or her dream. In fact, every child that Dream On representatives have come into contact with — no matter how dire the circumstances — has held onto a dream. Dream On has given many children and women the freedom, opportunity, and support to pursue their dreams.
Whether the dream is accessing clean water from a well, an opportunity to attend school, being freed from modern-day slavery, or achieving victory in the courtroom, Dream On International empowers individuals and communities to rise above adversity and realize their dreams.
HiGHLIGHTS of DREAM ON Successes
For more than 10 years, Dream On has undertaken a number of exciting projects that have changed lives, shaped communities, and forged partnerships with government officials, tribal elders, and other private NGOs. Below are highlights of some of our projects:
Rescued children from human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and child labor.
Partnered with the Enslavement Prevention Alliance - West Africa to create a residential home for children, teens, and young adults who were rescued from sexual violence, slavery, and child labor.
Partnered in the construction of a children’s home and two schools in the Volta Region of Ghana.
Installed water pumps in the villages of Andokope, Segbedeme, and Kitikpa, Ghana, which brought clean water to over 5,000 people.
Brought electricity to the village of Shihalia, Kenya and installed a water pump with a large above-ground tank that serves approximately 3,000 people.
Purchased over 1,000 health cards for children in Ghana and provided educational instruction to parents in a community meeting regarding the importance of health care in the prevention of disease.
Provided educational sponsorship for over 100 children in Ghana and Kenya through the Preventative Sponsorship Program.
Organized a safe house in the Volta Region of Ghana for 6 victims of sexual abuse and who were witnesses for a criminal investigation.
Provided witness relocation and protection in several regions of Ghana for children while investigations were conducted and cases tried in a court of law.
Initiated sex and health education classes in schools in Ghana.
Partnered with Grace Hand for Africa in Mbeya, Tanzania to create Grace Tailoring School and Grace Poultry Project — two income-generating programs that benefit 225 children who were victims of trafficking or were at-risk of human trafficking.
Installed electricity at Fodome Woe Elementary School.