A call has been made for a study to be undertaken to understand why many more children are leaving their homes and finding solace in the streets of big towns and cities.
“Today the children on the streets are multiplying as more and more join them, those already there are also starting families, sadly these families have single parents and if we do not quickly and collectively find solution to the root courses of this upsurge of streetism things will get out of hand”.
Mr. Daniel Christian Dugan, Deputy Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, said this at a Fund Raising Dinner Dance organized by the Street Academy in Accra at the weekend.
The objective of the dinner was to create awareness of the plight of children and other deprived and vulnerable children in the society and also to raise funds to build educational centres for the unfortunate children.
Mr. Dugan said, it was time to give stakeholders,decision-makers and donors the opportunity to consider a wide range of issues concerning vulnerable children “to enable us gain better understanding of the experiences and needs of children and to contribute to make their lives better.”
He noted that orphans, street children and other vulnerable children are most at risk of increased negative influences in their lives as compared with the 'average' children of the society and it is heart- breaking to see some of the children in society living under extreme difficult circumstances.
Mr. Dugan said it is gratifying to learn that the Street Academy reaches the least fortunate of Ghana's youth and gives them education that enables them to get into formal schooling or learning some trade.
He said it was obvious that most, if not all the children are refugees of one form or the other. There were cultural refugees, who run away from their homes to avoid being forced into marriages, undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) and being enslaved under the Trokosi system, among others.
The others are economic refugees who leave for
the streets because of adverse living conditions at
home, most likely due to conducts of hostile parents
Mrs. Margaret Kutsoati, Director of the Department of Social Welfare noted that the African family system provided natural insurance in the past but due to economic changes and family growth, the trend has changed for the worse.
She expressed regret that, things have been deteriorating despite government's assistance and the passage of the Children's Act that strengthens the legal framework that seeks to protect children.
Mrs. Kutsoati stressed the need for a guidance and guardians for the development of children especially those on the streets to enable them meet the challenges of growth.
Mr. Kofi Sarpong, Chairman of Board of Trustees of the Street Academy said there was no shortcut to excellence and so all efforts were needed to enable children on the street to realise their potentials.
He said human capital development should start from the growth of the child through the provision of basic education and all opportunities to have the self-confidence to achieve success in life.
Mr. Sarpong said it is gratifying that the Street Academy has embarked on building of the character of children and breaking barriers to enable the children to develop their potentials of becoming useful citizens.
Two products of the Academy, Master David Amoako Okuampah and Miss Elizabeth Agyemang, who graduated from the Academy shared their experiences and what they have gone through in life.
Former football star, Anthony Baffoe later presented a set of jerseys, footballs and T-shirts to the Academy.
Ataa Lartey, Director of the Street Academy said a lot of the children who start at the Academy completed the programme with majority of them completing either formal schooling or learning a trade.
He commended the private sector and other organizations for supporting the Academy to satisfy the needs of the children and for the development of their personalities, talents and capabilities.