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20.10.2008 Social News

Dutch NGO initiates development programmes for orphans

By gna

A Danish non-governmental organisation, 'Senior Hands to Africa and Asia' (ShAA), in collaboration with Help Age Ghana, has initiated a scheme for 20 grandmothers to develop their competence in small-scale business ventures to cater for abandoned children.

This followed the success of a trial programme under which ShAA has been supporting grannies in the past three years to cater for orphaned children in the Osu community in Accra.

Mr Svend Laursen, Chairman and educational adviser of ShAA, told the Ghana News Agency in Accra that under the scheme, senior citizens from Denmark would be linked with deprived communities in Ghana to support vulnerable mothers and children to support them to enhance their livelihood.

He said the Osu community was chosen because of the historical linkages between the peoples of Denmark and Osu which dates back to the pre-independence era.

A 12 member-delegation of ShAA, including Board Members, are currently on a one week visit to Ghana as part of the collaboration between Union of Educators of Youth Workers (BUPL) of Denmark and the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT).

Members of Senior Hands, he said, aimed at dealing directly with children and their care takers, especially grand parents to develop their talents in addition to channelling support through the society.

Mr Laursen said Senior Hands was also undertaking a development programme in the Upper West Regional capital, Wa, where they intended to replicate their development agenda of assisting women and children.

He said the NGO also intended to assist the Street Academy in Accra with experienced volunteer senior citizens to develop its capacity and enhance its non-formal educational system to take children off the streets.

ShAA started as a union to create jobs for the unemployed to support orphaned children, mostly those affected by HIV/AIDS by sending senior volunteers to Africa and Asia with focus on Africa's extended family needs.

Mr Niels Toft, Vice Chairman of ShAA, said they shared in the ideals of the Street Academy in Ghana and would study the needs of the African child, who had been left to fend for itself under trying conditions.

He said the time had come for African countries to come to terms with the drastic changes of the extended family system that had come with globalisation to adopt measures to building a link with the elderly and the youth.

Nene Ataa Lartey, Director of Street Academy, commended members of ShAA for their concern towards the development of children and suggested that volunteers should be given enough time to develop needs of the children that would discourage them from going back to the streets.

Children of the Street Academy entertained the members of the delegation to various cultural displays.