As the world prepares to mark International Street Children’s Day on April 12 as declared by the Consortium for Street Children, Safe-Child Advocacy, a humanitarian organisation run by the Catholic Church in Kumasi, is advocating for the rights of children in street situation.
To mark the day, the humanitarian organisation has asked Ghanaians to reflect on the following questions; what did these children really do wrong that they have to suffer so much? What does the future hold for them? How can we all contribute to provide some access for these children?
In championing the advocacy bid, Catholic Nun, Sr. Olivia Umoh, the Director of Safe-Child Advocacy called on Ghanaians also to think of some practical action to give a child in street situation access to services such as health care, education, shelter, protection, food.
In a publicity piece, the Catholic Nun said, “We will bring to you right where you are, all the information you need to know what to do on your position to contribute to ending child streetism.”
According to her, “We will expose what is happening to a population of our world’s children. Not without the children themselves, we would give children in street situation an opportunity and platform to tell their stories to the world.”
Adding, she said, “We would help the world to know what needs to be done to lift up our children from the street by providing access to essential services. We would demonstrate the power of collaboration as we would be standing alongside many other noble civil society organisations to press our demands.”
“This year, 2021, we demand Access to Essential Services for children in Street situation. We demand not only from governments, but also from well standing individuals and corporate bodies to facilitate access to such services as education, shelter, health care, food, safe environment, protection, for children in Street and other Vulnerable situations that are likely to force children on the street,” Sr. Olivia Umoh.
The Director of Safe-Child Advocacy said, “For us at Safe-Child Advocacy, April is advocacy month to tell the world about children in street situation. It is a day we stand beside millions of children in street situation all over the world to demand from national and International governments an end to child streetism.”
Children in street situation are among the most vulnerable population in the world as some are found living on the streets in almost every country the world over. Undoubtedly, countries within the African continent and Asia have high population of children living in street situation.
Over 60, 000 children live on the streets of Accra, the capital city of Ghana and over 20, 000 children live on the street of Kumasi, the second largest city of Ghana. Children in street situation in Kumasi are as young as 5 years of age and as old as 17 years of age.
This, Sr. Olivia lamented, “Some of these young persons spend their childhood, adolescence and early adulthood on the street” and bemoaned that “Children and young persons in street situations lack access to the basic services and live in deprivation as though they belong to a different world or they are a curse on the land.”
“Children in street situation roam the streets in search of livelihood. Their daily lives are endless toils. They have no safe space to stay, no good food and sometimes no food at all. They live rough on dirty, populated spaces and struggle for survival by engaging in menial tasks for sustenance. Some children struggle to support their families,” she added.