The International Day for Street Children – 2022 has once again provided an opportunity for government agencies in charge of child welfare, as well as the CSO, to reflect on efforts being put into ridding the streets of children who go through unimaginable hardships to live.
WUZDA Ghana has over the years taken interest in the welfare of all children and has provided several platforms through which stakeholders can engage and support street – connected children, to live like any other child.
This year’s IDSC, as celebrated every 12th April, was under the global theme “Stories from the street; building trust, building futures”, out of which WUZDA Ghana had a celebration theme, as ““Needs of the street child, the story so far, pushing for better lives for street – connected children”.
This celebration theme, is supposed to remind all stakeholders, including government agencies in charge of child welfare, about the basic and various needs of the street child, as well as the strategies that could be employed to end the menace of streetism.
The activities for the year’s celebration of the IDSC included radio discussions to remind the public about the societal responsibility to ending streetism.
Radio platforms such as Radio Justice, Radio Tawasul, Radio Tamale and Neesim FM, were used to send out messages of call for participation in discussions about the need for society to know and pay attention to the needs of the street child.
This year, WUZDA Ghana in partnership with Chance for Children and the Consortium for Street Children, as funded by Mundo Cooperante, with data gathered from the previous year’s IDSC, fed 140 street children along the Aboabo market streets and in the Tamale Central market.
The children were elated to have enjoyed hot and well cooked meals with meat and drinks, some for the first time and others for the first time in a long while.
WUZDA Ghana found that some of the children on the streets of Tamale live with their parents; single or both, who do not care about their welfare, which is why the child would go through the streets every day to find what to feed on and get back home very late at night to sleep.
This is why this year’s activities also targeted some parents of the children to begin engaging, to ascertain the reasons behind their pushing responsibility of their children to the streets.
There was a street procession by supposed leaderships of the street children, which ended with the children presenting petitions to the Northern Region’s Department of Children and the Tamale Metropolitan Department of Social Welfare, on their needs as they are made live on the streets.
During the procession, the children wielded placards, some of which read “ Build our stories, build our futures”, “we street kids are going through a lot”, help us, we eat and sleep on the streets”, “street children deserve better”, etc.
On the 12th , which was used to climax the entire celebration, stakeholders were brought together in a forum, to discuss the various key and actionable approaches that must be employed to reduce the numbers of street children especially beginning from the streets of Tamale.
The stakeholders who were government agencies on child protection and welfare at the forum included the Department of Children, Department of Social Welfare, Department of Gender, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, the National Commission on Civic Education, the Ghana Immigration Service and the Ghana Police Service.
The other stakeholders included Chance for Children, Fountain of Blessings for Nations, Songtaba Self Help initiative, Sung Foundation, as well as the media.
Stakeholder after stakeholder, took turns and to speak and all called for plans and policies to be put in place by governments to forge a path for all stakeholders to follow, where all activities on streetism could be streamlined, to avoid duplication of efforts and to help achieve concrete results.
The influx of foreign children on the streets of Tamale who are allegedly brought in by older men and women for business, was not left out of the discussion, where the Ghana Immigration Service indicated that there are efforts being made to ensure the phenomenon is curtailed.
Some challenges were outlined, as faced by the government agencies in charge of the welfare and protection of children, mainly being the lack of, or inadequate financial and human resources, to allow for proper implementation and monitoring of the already existing plans and policies on protecting the rights of children, to which end, there would be drastic reduction in the numbers of street children.
The key action plan from this year’s IDSC celebration and especially, the stakeholder engagement is the creation of a platform for continuous engagements and discussions on way forward on how to end streetism.
WUZDA Ghana’s celebration of the International Day for Street Children – 2022, was in partnership with the Consortium for Street Children, Chance for Children, and funded by Mundo Cooperante.