© Natsuki Yasuda/ Dialogue for People



We believe that eliminating child labour long-term requires addressing every level of our global supply chain and getting everyone to play their role. As such, we operate through international cooperation, supporting rural communities at the source, collaborating with corporations, and providing consumer education.

Our mission is to protect the rights of children and youth but our impact extends beyond the Sustainable Development Goal 8.7. 


Take a look at an overview of our results so far. 



Laxmi, 15 years old

© Natsuki Yasuda/ Dialogue for People

Citti, 19 years old

© Natsuki Yasuda/ Dialogue for People

- Telangana State, India

Laxmi's storyline: Cotton field → bridge school → girls'  school (public boarding school outside the village)


Laxmi had never attended public school before. 

"The staff would come to my home every day to persuade my parents to send us to school. The sun was hard when I was working. I also had a stomachache. I was hospitalised for 7 days when I was 11 years old [the effects of pesticides]. My brother was going to school, but I didn't want to go because I didn't think girls went to school. I had no idea that I could go to school until the staff came. But now I can say that I probably had wanted to go. Now girls in the village can go to school.” 

Jitu, 10 years old

© Natsuki Yasuda/ Dialogue for People

- Telangana State, India

Jitu's storyline: Dropped out in the 2nd grade when his father left the family (6- 7 years old) → cotton field → bridge school for 1 year → Public school (present)

"I was suffering from heat and headaches when I was working in a cotton field. When I stopped working I wanted to be a doctor who consults for free to help the villagers. I had no dreams when I was working. I need knowledge to be a good doctor so I study."

Venkatesh, 14 years old

© Natsuki Yasuda/ Dialogue for People

- Telangana State, India

Venkatesh's storyline: Cotton fields → bridge school → dormitory school 

Venkatesh's father died when he was still young. He is one of 5 neighbourhood children: Mahesh (14) Shiva (14), Charan (12), Rahul (12) and Venkatesh Naiku (20)

"In our village, more children worked than children who went to school. But now more children go to school. The staff and CRPF (Child Rights Protection Forum) talked to my mother so many times so that I could go to bridge school. I want to help children go to school when I grow up in the future."

14 years old
14 years old

- Bron-Asafo region, Ghana

John's storyline: Child labour → bridge school → school 


John  moved to this area with his family from northern Ghana in 2018, however rather than going to school he immediately began working in the cacao fields. He dropped out in his third year of elementary school, and has never been to school since. His parents had never been to school before, and told us how they "didn't know what school was." Later on, members of the village's Child Protection Committee persuaded his parents to send him to school, and John returned to the fifth grade class.


"Going to school every day is fun and my favourite subject is maths." John says that he wants to be a banker in the future, and now his parents have come to be very proud of that. 

godfried grade5.JPG
20 years old

We met Godfred all the way back in 2008 when SMILE Ghana started operating in his village, Kwabena Akwa, Ghana.

This is his story!

Entry from 2010

"My name is Godfred Otti. I am the eldest son of three, I have one brother and one sister. I am from a village in Atuma Mnpnuya County, Ashanti. I was born in 1995. My family are cacao farmers. My father died when I was 7. That is why a couple years later, when I turned 9, I started to work in the cacao fields. I was enrolled in school at that time, but I skipped a lot of school as I couldn’t afford the school textbooks and other supplies and so I did not enjoy school. My mum was poor and couldn’t read or write, and I felt so guilty that she worked all by herself to look after me and my brother and sister. My siblings were not going to school either. After a while, I went to live with my grandparents who adopted me, thinking that I would be able to go to school, however things turned out to be even worse there and I ended up having to work on their farm and other farms to afford to go to school again."


Entry from 2012: Godfred goes on to high school to pursue his dream to become a doctor

Following his trip to Japan in 2010, Godfred is studying hard and putting all his efforts into catching up for the time he lost to child labour. “I grew up seeing so many lives lost because there wasn’t a hospital in the village and medical treatment was delayed. That is why I want to become a doctor and help people in these villages”. With this in mind, he graduated junior school and went onto high school. While typically in Ghana you have to pass an examination to enter high school, Godfred achieved the highest final year school examination score in his district so he received a  scholarship from the Ghanaian government and was able to get in immediately. He has been studying hard ever since. 


Entry from 2016: Godred gets into medical university

We received news in August 2016 that Godfred’s dream was finally about to come to fruition when he got a place at a medical university. His message read, "at long last I am in school!". "Please say thank you to everyone!”


He saved for over 2 years, and although there were still a few things he needed to buy before school started, he was going to manage. We were able to speak with him and his friend Evan (another boy from the village who had been withdrawn from child labour and became friends with Godfred at the Child Dignity CLub), to celebrate the wonderful news!

- Telangana State, India


Citti's storyline: Dropped out in 7th grade →  cotton field → vocational training center → marriage & work as a tailor


"When I was working, I had no breaks and worked every day. You can rest only when you have a fever or have a headache. Other than that, there are no holidays. The vocational center was in its third term, I wanted to go before the start of the second but my parents wouldn't allow it. They said it was impossible because we had no money. Immediately after my parents made me drop out of school, my school friends visited my home and tried persuading my parents. But my parents turned them away, saying, "If this child doesn't work, we can't feed her." I was very sad."

Renuka, 10 years old

© Natsuki Yasuda/ Dialogue for People

- Telangana State, India

Renuka's storyline: Dropped out in 3rd grade →  Bridge School

Her younger brother→ Bridge School (present)

Older brother: dropped out in grade 5 (village school up to grade 5) → work in field → NRBC → Gadwar hostel school

"My parents were migrant workers to Hyderabad, and I used to go to my migrant destination with my parents." Renuka wants to be a teacher like Vijerakshmi (project staff) at Bridge School. Her brother also wants to be a teacher to encourage children who work like him to come to school. Only Renuka and her brother  can read and write in the family.

15 years old

- Telangana State, India


Swarupa had been told to drop out of school when she was in fifth grade of elementary school and started working in the cotton fields. The staff talked with her parents and whilst they agreed to withdraw Swarupa from work, by then she was too old for compulsory education (under 14 years), and so re-entering school was difficult and expensive. Instead she had to go to the vocational training centre operated by the project. 


"I'm glad I can study with my friends again!"


Swarpa's mother: "Once Swarupa started going to the centre we saw how much she enjoyed it, and realised that it was much better for children not to work. Recently, if my husband sees children working he introduces the centre to their parents and persuades them to not make their children work. ”

14 years old

- Bron-Asafo region, Ghana

In 2013, Janet, who was 13 at the time, had been sent to work on a farm in a village where SMILE Ghana was already underway. The farm was run by Kwak Nyame. 


Janet was sent to work on the farm to help pay for her sick mother's medical bills. Her parents told her that she should go work on the farm instead of going to school. Janet was from a northern region of Ghana where this is no big industry and so was an even poorer area than the cacao-farming areas of the south. That is why a lot of parent take their children to work on the farms, and there were also cases where parents would just send their children to another region if the children were sent back from farms.



SMILE GHANA Community Project


Collaborating with Companies



Child Labour Free Zones 



PEACE India Community Project




- Yoko Nakajima, CSR Group Manager Corporate Communications, Morinaga & Co., LTD.


“We respect and sympathize with ACE’s passionate mission and their tenacious efforts to "protect the children of the world from child labor and give them a reason to smile". We feel that education is a key element for empowering children and giving them the confidence to open their futures.
We will continue to work with ACE, along with our customers, whose purchases of chocolate through the "1 smile for 1 chocolate" campaign donates 1 yen from the purchase of target products, so that happiness can come to all - not only the people who eat chocolate, but everyone else, including the children who live in cacao producing countries.”  


© Natsuki Yasuda/ Dialogue for People


- G.S Ravi Prakash, President of SPEED (Society for People's Economic & Education Development)


“We are very honoured to be associated with ACE. Our organisation has been associated with ACE since 2010. Over the years, together we have implemented several projects benefiting low-income families and adolescent. Many people have benefited immensely from ACE projects, and there is a profound sense of gratitude to ACE and its staff for their commitment and sponsorship. ACE and its staff are like family to our organisation. Their guidance and mentoring has been instrumental in the successful implementation of projects and the achievement of project goals.”  


© Natsuki Yasuda/ Dialogue for People


- Nana Antwi Boasiako Brempong, Executive Secretary CRADA

(Child Research for Action and Development Agency)


“It has always been a privilege and honor to work with ACE for the past 8 years since our partnership to eliminate Child labour in the cocoa growing communities began. My experience with ACE has been quite impressive and full of learning process and innovations all through the past years. ACE has always been a worthy partner in the fight against Child Labour in the Ghanaian community. ACE-Japan has provided us a new paradigm shift on how to manage projects, produce better reports and share experiences or best practices with stakeholders.”  




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Every child has the right to play, learn, grow. 

ACE aims to transform the world into a place where all children and youths are free to shape their own lives and capable of building a society that they want to live in.


Ending child labour is one of our core strategic goals.

We believe that achieving this goal in the long-term requires addressing every level of the global supply chain. As such, we operate through international cooperation, supporting rural communities in Asia and Africa, collaborating with private corporations, and engaging in consumer education.

We are a Japanese NGO active in international advocacy to protect children from exploitation across the globe.


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Okachimachi Green Heights 1005


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