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The youth constitute the most important human resource potential that can contribute significantly to the overall development of a nation. The total population of children in Ghana under the age of 15 is 37.44% according to Ghana Demographics Profile for July 2020.
The idea of children on the streets violates the children’s activities which states that “under no circumstance should a person below the age of fifteen (15) be allowed to work or fend for himself or herself” . Therefore, the increasing phenomenon of streetism, which is used to describe children who live and work on the streets due to lack of family ties or worse still, stuck in manipulative relationships where their guardians use them to support the household financially through various activities on the street is a menace.
Streetism has been caused largely by increased urbanization and the difficult socio-economic circumstances rural families are experiencing. There are many root causes for the increasing number of street children in Accra and these are highly related.
Some children are on the streets because they were subjected to a certain level of abuse at home, and they believe that the street will be a place of refuge. Others are underprivileged and take to the streets in search of money. Most of these underprivileged children are homeless because of the impact of divorce, the death of a parent(s), or parent(s) not being able to fend for their children. Therefore, streetism in Ghana can be attributed to parental neglect or death, truancy, rural-urban migration, second generational street children, mental health issues, and sexual, physical or emotional abuse.
A majority of street children in Accra can be found in Central Accra, Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Madina, Abeka-Lapaz and Kaneshie.
According to research conducted in 2018 by Henrietta Afful , over sixty-one thousand four hundred and ninety-two children (61,492) are on the streets of Accra struggling to make ends meet. In 2010, a headcount of street children was done in Accra. The result obtained showed that 43% of the total population were male and 57% were female. The largest number of street children came from the Savannah and Northern Regions of Ghana forming 28.53% of the children found in the streets of Accra. The smallest number of children found in the streets of Accra were from the Bono and Ahafo Regions contributing 2.38% to the total population of street children in Accra . Street children are subjected to very harsh conditions. Hunger is one that cannot be over-emphasized.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people going hungry and suffering from food insecurity worldwide had been gradually rising since 2014. Unfortunately, the pandemic has intensified the vulnerabilities and inadequacies of global food systems, which could add hundreds of millions of people to the chronically undernourished, making the goal of ending hunger a more distant one. Ghana is not left out of these statistics.
Myhelp-Yourhelp Foundation, as part of its 3rd-year anniversary celebration and in line with its core mandate in attending to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 2), Zero Hunger coupled with the need to fulfill scripture in Matthew 25:35 (For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in) consented to embark on a food and drinks distribution to street kids in some parts of Accra, the capital city of Ghana.
This took place on the 31st of July 2021 and the theme: “Feed a child, save a life” was adopted to mark the occasion. Food distribution started from Opeibea Bus Stop to Madina Zongo-Junction and back to the Accra Retail Centre. Five hundred (500) bags containing packs of assorted food, assorted drinks, water and pastries were distributed. Approximately forty (40) members of the organization converged at the Accra retail centre at 7am. Prayer and a word of exhortation was shared by Mrs Love Acheampong followed by a brief address by the CEO and the Founder of the Foundation in the person of Mr. Nicholas Cofie. The members present then hit the road for the food distribution.
The hitherto sombre expressions on the faces of these kids metamorphosed. Their faces lit up with impish glee as they received the packages. The remarks from the recipients were so heartwarming.