SHS Graduate With 5As, 3Bs Goes Into Galamsey

After Tapping Palm-wine Due To Financial Constraints


The dream of a 21-year-old Senior High School (SHS) graduate to further his education and become a lawyer appears to be at the verge of shattering because of financial constraints, forcing him to enter illegal mining operation, otherwise called “galamsey.”

Stephen Koomson, who studied General Arts in SHS and obtained 5As and 3Bs in the 2021 West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE), had desired to pursue his dream career at the university.

Prior to being enticed into galamsey by a friend, the young man engaged in other menial jobs, like palm wine tapping and bush hunting, with his uncle, as part of his hustle, but none of these could fetch him much.

The needy but brilliant boy, who is a graduate of the Mpohor Senior High School in the Western Region, told The Anchor, he was forced to do these jobs just to support himself, his single mother and younger siblings.

He is a native of Adum Dominase in the Mpohor District, but moved to his mother’s place in the Tarkwa area, where he began the galamsey business.

His mother, who has four other children, is unable to support his education, as his father is deceased.

He told this paper that, he lost his father at a very young age and so it was his uncle who supported his education, but he could not assist any further because, he did not have the means.

Narrating his plans in a telephone interview with The Anchor, yesterday, Stephen Koomson said he wants to further his education at either the University of Cape Coast or the University of Ghana, Legon, but for the financial challenges.

The WASSCE results of Stephen Koomson

He is therefore pleading to the public for either a scholarship or any other form of financial support for him to return to the classroom.

He narrated, “I completed Mpohor SHS in the Western Region. Ever since I completed school, I went into palm wine tapping for a certain period of time, but it did not help.

“So, I put a stop to it. The palm wine tapping, the heat and other stuffs made me fall sick so I decided to put a stop to it.

“Then I went to my uncle’s place. At first, my uncle was the one who took care of me when I was in SHS until I completed. He was a plantain and cassava farmer. So, I came back to him so that I will work with him in that cassava and plantain farm, so that I can get something little to further my education.

He had a dog that we use for hunting in the bush. Some two to three months, I said it was not helping.”

According to Stephen, this pushed him to move from his base to Tarkwa, a gold endemic community, for a greener pasture.

His friend, who was tipping him money while in the popular town, then introduced him to the illegal mining business with the hope that he could save and also provide for his mother and his four siblings.

Even though he was apprehensive of the dangers of the notorious trade, he was convinced by his friend, who allayed his fears of getting arrested by the security agencies.

In a day, Stephen said he is able to secure GH₵50 from the gold business. As at the time The Anchor was speaking to him, Stephen said he has now traveled to the national capital, Accra, with an uncle, but he is unsure what he is being brought there to do.

He went on: “So, I decided to go to my mom’s place at Tarkwa to live with her. I got a friend called Kwaku and that friend normally tips me…. ‘take this 20 cedis, take this 10 cedis.’

“So, one day, I asked him that ‘you what work do you do that you are able to give me money or did you go and steal?’ Then he said that ‘no I am just an illegal miner so if you don’t mind join me.’ Then I said that work is too scary because I am scared of police and soldiers.

“And he said the place we are working, it is cool so since that time, I got into illegal mining. After I joined, I realized that this work I can do and get some money for my junior siblings and my mom. But later that one too I got to know that the work was not helping so I consulted my brother to broadcast my situation for me.”

He told The Anchor he may be forced to go back to Tarkwa to continue the galamsey business, in the event that he does not get the assistance he so needs to return to school.

Stephen, who said that, in a week, he spends six days at these galamsey sites, with the exception of Wednesday, which is “resting day, I will go and continue the [galamsey job] but if I get someone to help me, I will not go back.”

He gave his contact mobile number as 0557201240, so that he could be reached for assistance.




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