Adientam (W/R) Dec.8 -GNA- About 2,800 children have been withdraw from the streets and re-oriented for better life since the government and the World Bank developed a pilot project since 2003 to improve their lives. Some 1,272 of these children have been integrated into mainstream society, while 300 have been put into formal education with 175 others benefiting from non-formal education.
Mrs. Mary Dei Awuku, head of the street children project at the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment (MMYE), who made this known also said 202 parents and guardians have benefited from business management training under the project.
She was speaking at the graduation ceremony of 24 hardcore street children who underwent a year's training in animal rearing and vegetable production at Adientam a suburb of Takoradi on Thursday. Mercy Foundation International (MFI) an NGO, supported by the MMYE and Community Development, facilitated their training; bringing the number of hardcore children so far trained by MFI to 135. Mrs Awuku stated that the main focus of the 2006 budget was the creation of jobs in order to provide employment and incomes for the people in the bid to reduce poverty.
She announced that the ministry has initiated a national youth employment and job creation programme that would help to reduce incidence of streetism with its attendant hazards. The capitation grant aimed at providing access for all children of school-going age to have free education is another preventive measure to combat streetism, she said.
Mrs Awuku advised the grandaunds to put skills they have acquired to good use so as to earn decent incomes, and asked them to aim at establishing enterprises that would be a sour4ce of training for others. "I wish to encourage you to be role models for others who are still on the streets", she said adding, "please let them know that there is a better life and future outside the streets".
Mrs Awuku reminded the people of the need for a collective role and responsibility to support the socio-economic development of the country. Reverend Oliver Osei-Gerning, Executive Director of MFI said as a result of training received a number of hardcore street children including girls were now out of the streets and engaged in income generating ventures.
He said the project had established contacts with parents of the children with the view of reintegrating them with their home community. Rev. Osei-Gerning commended the government and other stakeholders for the support to train the children and said he was convinced that investments made on the children would yield fruitful results. Mr. Philip Kwesi Nkrumah, Shama Ahanta East Metropolitan Chief Executive reminded parents of their collaborative role to make the training of street children beneficial to both society and the children themselves.