Natalija Gormalova

Photographer & Filmmaker
   
The Life of the Kayayei
Location: Ghana
Biography: Natalija Gormalova (Latvia, 1987) is a photographer and filmmaker based in Accra, Ghana. At the age of 17 she moved to London where she studied Photography at the LCC and later received scholarship to study Masters in   Photography at the... read on
Public Story
The Life of the Kayayei
Credits: natalija gormalova
Updated: 05/03/20
Location: Ghana
Archived as:  ,
Since the 80s teenage girls have been migrating from Ghana’s northern regions to the capital Accra in search of employment opportunities to escape poverty, early marriage, and conflict in their villages. Many of these young women have no formal education and on their arrival to Accra often end up working as kayayei (female head porters). For long hours in the sweltering heat, the kayayei carry goods on their heads through Accra’s busy markets for as little as few dollars a day. It is estimated there are more than 160,000 kayayie in Accra.

Rahina came to Accra at a very young age from the northern region almost five years ago. Despite the back-breaking labor and hardships she faces every day, she continues working in Accra to send money to her family back in the north. Rahina lives in Accra’s largest slum, Agbobloshie, and shares one room with another ten kayayie girls. Agbobloshie, sometimes referred by locals as “Sodom and Gomorrah” is one of the world’s largest electronic waste burning sites and one of the most toxic. The slum is also a home to armed robbers, prostitutes and drug dealers where young vulnerable women can become victims of sexual assaults.

Rahina's and Asana's story resonates with thousands of vulnerable young women who migrate from the northern regions to Accra in search of a better life just to face exploitation and sexual violence. Without any support from the government, they end up becoming slaves of the system.
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By Natalija Gormalova —

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By Natalija Gormalova — Ghana, a West African nation of about 30 million people, has deep-rooted cultural norms, and structural..
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