JCI Accra Elite Street Kids Project
Lord Divine Tawiah Nartey
JCI Accra Elite
Lord Divine Tawiah Nartey
October 18, 2013
JCI Accra Elite is a local chapter affiliated to the national organization JCI Ghana. The Local chapter has decided to undergo CHILD EDUCATION PROGRAM which falls under the goal number two of the UN MDGs, which is set to achieve Universal Primary Education. The Title for this project is named as “JCI Accra Elite Street Kids Project” The Idea for the project came up in the year 2010 during the presidency of Ms. Sonia Sophie Thompson (JCI Accra Elite President 2010) she discovered that there are many children living on the streets of the Ga communities of Accra. The problem of street children is major in areas like Osu and James Town (suburbs of Accra) this is as a result of teenage pregnancy especially from very poor backgrounds in these communities The Project is designed to help street children, train and provide them with opportunities that will change their focus and mindset and to give them a better future. It is also to help them to discover their potential and to fuel their growth in becoming active citizens.
. Over the years, the perception which has been ringing in the minds of many Ghanaians is the issue of 'second generation of street children', that is children of street children in the streets of Accra and some major cities in the country. Children who were born on the street are the most vulnerable because of the type of environment they found themselves. They are always in constant danger of becoming ill, being associated with crime and other unlawful practices. They grow up without any culture except that of the street. Most often, the fathers of these children are not known or do not want to be known, making the women to be the only persons who cater for the children. These children do not belong to any tribe and therefore do not learn any cultural values since their mothers are survivors themselves and do not have enough funds to cater properly for their children; hence you will see them roaming and making friends while their mothers try to earn some money at the market or the street. It has been the view of many concern people that unless something was done about the issue of streetism, moral decadence, violence and crime in the country would only increase, including drug abuse, murder, stealing, homosexuality, lesbianism, prostitution, armed robbery and indecent exposure. The second generation of street children only learn the culture of violence, cheating and illicit businesses. With the influx of children and youth from the rural areas to the urban centers’, the perception of people still holds valid that children who were the future leaders of the country precisely, future priests, doctors, engineers, architects, lawyers, journalists and other professions would be having along way to go as about two million Ghanaian of them are engaged in various forms of child labour while about 21,000 are also on the streets. As one walks or drive along the streets in Accra and its environs, a common spectacle hits one's eyes of how these young ones have one way or the other turned the streets to a supermarket while some as young as between six to 15 years are seen selling while others between 15 to 24 are seen nursing babies which belonged to them or their parents. There are also some children aged between five and seventeen years who prefer to be involved in working in the various sectors mentioned above than being in the school to become great people in the future. It is also glaring to see these children engage in various sectors of the economy including commercial, agriculture, fishing, weaving, mining, truck pushing, pottery and illegal mining (galamsey) under all circumstances instead of going to School or be apprenticed to a master tradesman or learn some trade or vocation. The activities of the street children and their children in a way could be equated to the slave trade in the ancient day Ghana, after 200 years of the abolishing of slave trade in Africa. As humanitarian sentiments grew in Western Europe with the Age of Enlightenment and the growth of religious groups such as the Quakers, and as European economic interests shifted slowly from agriculture to industry, a movement grew to abolish the slave trade and the practice of slavery. The government of Ghana has passed several laws and signed a number of treaties to guard against exploitative forms of child labour. Article 28 of the 1992 Constitution prohibits labour that is considered injurious to the health, education, or development of the child. Ghana has also signed three key international treaties that ban certain practices of child labour. Additionally, Ghana has passed its own laws on child labour. This includes the Children's Act of 1998 and the Labour Act of 2003, both of which address child labour in detail. The Children's Act bans all exploitative labour and echoes the 1992 Constitution's prohibition by defining this type of labour as that which denies a child of health, education or development. The Act additionally bans a number of child labour practices that it lists as "hazardous". The provision in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana on the rights of children, led Government to the creation of Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment, Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, Department of Children, Social Welfare, Special Police Unit for Child Protection. The African Charter of the rights and welfare of the child also requires that every child has equal rights and freedoms. These rights should be the same for every child, no matter who you are , where you live, what language you speak, what culture or religion you follow, how rich or poor you are or whether you are a boy or girl. Creating a society fit for the Ghanaian child means all children should get the best possible start of life and have access to quality basic education. They need to be helped to develop their individual capacities in a safe and supportive environment. This is the outmost need for every Ghanaian to promote the physical, social, emotional, spiritual development of children to make Ghana one of the countries that have designed programmes for children on the African continent. Parents who thought the way to lessen their burden was to send their children onto the streets to beg or do filtering and all kinds of menial jobs, must be brought to book to face the rigors of the law. Appropriate authorities and stakeholders on the issues of children should cause government to implement the various Acts and conventions on children Despite the efforts of government to have a place in Schools for children, there are still indications that children are still dropping out of school before they could complete their Junior Secondary Education. The are still thousands of children living on the streets of Accra and other cities in the country and nobody seems to care anymore. JCI Accra elite of Ghana realize that something needs to be done about this. We can not do all but we are sure we can start from somewhere. The Idea for the project came up in the year 2010 during the presidency of Ms. Sonia Sophie Thompson (JCI Accra Elite President 2010) she discovered that there are many children living on the streets of the “Ga” communities of Accra. The problem of “streetism” is major in areas like Osu and James Town (suburbs of Accra) this is as a result of teenage pregnancy especially from very poor backgrounds in these communities. (The same community where JCI Accra Elite is Located) The 2011 management board of the local chapter decided to sign a memorandum of understanding with an NGO called “street Academy” which was discovered by the 2010 president. Street Academy is focused on child education. They bring together large number of street children from the street to provide them with academic education and other trainings like vocational skills, culture, visual art and football. Several meeting was held between the management of street academy and JCI Accra Elite. The MOU was signed in April 2011 in the presence of JCI President 2011 Mr Kintaro Haralda. Several programs has been organized for the children by JCI Accra Elite including, training, fun games, gala nights and more just to make the children feel belonging. We also donated some sporting materials to them witnessed by The 2012 JCI President Bertolt daems. JCI Accra Elite has decided to undergo a major project with the street children this year on the 24th of August 2013 to be précised. As JCI Accra elite is focusing to the future of these children, the management of the NGO came out with an appeal that they need food and learning materials for the children as they do not have regular support from other sources. JCI Accra elite leadership agreed to give them the food and learning material because it is difficult to learn without food. So on the 24th of August 2013, JCI Accra Elite organized a full day program with the children. This includes Training, cultural dance, football games party and may more. Items donated was 3bags of 50kilos rice, cooking oils, tin fish, soft drinks, exercise books , pen and pencils, toiletries and many other glossaries.
We are doing our very best to give these children a better future with the little we has. This is the very small way we can start but we know it will get somewhere. If there is any local organization that has children at heart they can join hands with JCI Accra Elite to champion this cause because it is a major issue in the country which stack holders seems relaxed about. We need more hands in championing this cause. JCI Accra ELite is the only local Chapter which is taking this challenge in the entire JCI. Anybody who has children at heart is also welcome to join hands with us, there is more to do because there are still more children on the street. Our vision is to pick all the street children and put them in schools. I personally recommend that people should not underrate the street children because they also have a potential and all they need is a little help. Lets come together and champion the cause of child education.
Two children were given full scholarships in one of the best schools in Ghana. Some of the elder children are also participation in the under 17 football games in the country. some of the street children are also becoming business owner in the country as we train them in Entrepreneurship. with their vocational skills training, they are able to star their own businesses.