The International Street Children’s Day has been marked in Accra with a call on government to partner the private sector to develop policies that will include structural solutions for street children to help curtail the menace.
Mr Jones Owusu Yeboah, the Chief Executive Officer of Se Eye Woba AnKa (SEWA) Foundation, a non-governmental organisation committed to the eradication of human trafficking and modern day slavery, said: “We have so many shelter homes in Ghana being operated by NGOs, which have been closed down by government due to the short comings of the NGO, why doesn’t government partner these NGO’s to make these homes functional?” he asked.
“There are so many social workers who have not been assigned, government can partner these NGOs to make the homes running and cater for these children since government does not have enough homes,” he said.
Mr Owusu Yeboah who made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said although former Ministers and the current Minister of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection had contributed immensely with programmes and interventions to curb the situation, there was more to be done.
“What reintegration programmes do we have when these children are taken out of the street? Government can partner the NGOs to enable the shelter homes to function.
Mr Yeboah added that the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) programme should be enhanced for households to help improve the situation against streetism.
He said unless this was done, the phenomena of street children would continue since parents could not take care of their children because of abject poverty.
Street children are a term used for poor and homeless children under 18 years of age, living in the streets of a village, town or city.
“They spend their lives on the streets and start facing every sort of hardships in their very early stage of life. They even do not have the very basic necessities of life for livelihood”.
Mr Yeboah said by 2020, there would be an increase in the number of foreign children on the streets; hence, adverse measures must be taken to cater for them.
He said the Children’s Act, governing the wellbeing of children must be relooked at in the protection of the children.
“Some pastors are taking advantage of street children to make money. I witnessed a situation in traffic where a sick child was been used by a pastor to beg for money, which is not right, such offenders who take advantage of such children must be dealt with,” he added.
He also urged government to properly equip the Social Welfare Department with the needed logistics to enable it handle and settle social issues effectively.
The Day was launched in 2011 by Consortium for Street Children (CSC), a leading international network dedicated to realising the rights of street children worldwide, with support from its global corporate partner Aviva, to ensure that the voices of the victims are heard. It is celebrated in over 130 countries.