The Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocesan Development Organisation (NABOCADO) has inaugurated a multipurpose Child Protection and Training Centre valued at GH₵1.9 million in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.
The facility, with a dormitory capacity of 80 children, has been furnished with a decent washroom and bathroom, furniture, fittings and conference halls for meetings and training to help offer protection and skills to street children.
The facility, termed, “Drop-In Training Centre”, is an infrastructural extension of the Centre for Child Development under the auspices of the Directorate of Good Governance, Justice and Peace of NABOCADO, responsible for safeguarding street children and vulnerable adults.
It would offer street children access to decent shelter, place of convenience and bath to enable them live decent lives and paved way for them to be reintegrated with their families and societies.
It had funding support from the Kindermissionswerk of Germany.
At a brief ceremony to inaugurate the facility, Most Reverend Alfred Agyenta, Bishop of the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocese, expressed worry at the influx of vulnerable children on the streets and called for collective approach to tackle the menace.
He said broken homes and parental neglect due to work among other factors were some of the major issues that pushed the children onto the streets to risk their lives and noted that the Catholic Church was concerned about that development.
“Streetism is a problem that is growing but the fundamental problem that we need to tackle is to get our parents and families together”, he said.
“We know that parents must find the money to be able to take care of the children but if you get your money and you have no home or child or your child is wayward, what becomes of your money and property”?
It was in this regard, Most Reverend Agyenta explained, the Catholic Church was intervening to provide protection and shape the future of vulnerable children and underscored the need for the Church to step up its effort to ensure families stayed together to protect and train their children.
“We believe that if we do not take care of our children especially in situations like this, we can lose them and also we are creating problems for the society,” the Bishop added.
Dr Joseph Ayembilla, the Human Development Coordinator, NABOCADO, said since the establishment of the Centre for Child Development in 1997, it had over the years rescued children and vulnerable adults from the streets and human traffic activities.
He said apart from reforming the children and giving them education which had helped many to succeed in various disciplines of society and contributing to national development, the Centre had also integrated some into their respective families.
“Currently, we have 30 resident children, more than 60 children have also been resettled in their homes but we still support their parents with livelihood activities to help them care for their children.
“Currently we even have children across the country and we are in collaboration with the International Justice Mission to rescue children,” he said
Dr Ayembilla noted that the expansion of the Centre was not only to provide decent shelter for street children which would motivate them to move out of the streets but it would generate revenue to support the activities of the Centre through conferences that would be hosted there and also sell the idea of reducing streetism to stakeholders who patronise the Centre.