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08.06.2005 Regional News

Street children project inaugurated

By GNA

Kumasi, June 8, GNA- A Drop in Centre for Street Children, a project of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kumasi, that seek to rehabilitate Street Children, was inaugurated in Kumasi on Wednesday. The centre will assist street children, especially young girls from the Northern Region, who will agree to get off the street into a stable living situation to facilitate their integration into the society through informal education and counselling.

Members of the centre will visit families of the street children for their effective re-integration into the society. The centre will provide training on "street work" to child-focused non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and volunteers to enable the groups provide professional, safe and effective service for street children.

Inaugurating the centre, the Most Reverend Peter Kwasi Sarpong, Archbishop of Kumasi, said the Catholic Church was committed to contributing to the physical, social and cultural development of the people. He also said the Church would work harder to improve the lives of the poor, underprivileged, the needy and the rejected in the society. The Most Rev. Sarpong said it was also against this backdrop that the Catholic Church in Ghana established good schools and health centres. He said the Church controlled about 35 per cent of the country's health care facilities with nearly 30 Hospitals and over 100 clinics. The Most Rev. Sarpong said the Church was greatly involved in projects for street children and called on organisations to support the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, the managers of the Drop in Centre.

Miss Patricia Appiagyei, Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, said expressed regret that at the end of 2004, Kumasi had an estimated total population of 18,000 street children. She said, "vulnerable as they are and ignorant of the ultimate deprivation and destitute lifestyle that the practice will lead them to, it was important for parents and relations to play an advocacy role in collaboration with civil society organisations". Oheneba Adusei Poku, Akyempimhene of Kumasi, who represented the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, expressed worry about the problem of street children in the country. He urged Churches and other organisations to contribute to the development of needy children. Rev Sister Perpetual Essien, Director of the Centre, said 100 children come to the centre daily for rest and counselling.

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