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STREETISM: THE WAY FORWARD?.. By Starlight Foundation



This piece was written by Otumfuo Kay, a member of Starlight Foundation.

STREETISM:  THE WAY FORWARD?...

BY OTUMFUO KAY

STREETISM,THE          WAY FORWARD?

"Our lives begun to end the day we became silent about things that matter" and there isn't anything that matters more than the age old problem that hangs on our shoulders,streetism is defined as ....


It is disheartening the number of infants that parade the streets of our Cuties,Towns and Villages in recent times.

One question which lingers on the lips of many who care,is what account for this alarming number of waywardness or streetism? The answer is not farfetched.

According to Ghana Statistical Service,(GSS) Accra houses over fifty thousand street children 50,000 and the growth rate is 0.17% annually and if You really care about Ghana,it should be of great concern to You.

These Children are left to fend and cloth themselves from the streets and to deal with all the risk that the street poses,they have no parental guidance,nobody to listen to them,put a smile on their faces or to assure them of a future going forward,referencing the above mentioned figure,if no serious measures are put in place to curb this menace,it will swallow us up,we need to go beyond paying lip service and put down stringent measures to face it head on,enforcement has always been a perennial problem in this Country,we need to go beyond that.

In many encounters with some of these children,many of them still have the desire to go to school,I listened to them with tears in my heart as Nathan,an eleven year old I usually meet around Tetteh Quarshie roundabout talk to me about his dreams of becoming a teacher. I listened with bated breath as he went on about not knowing his parents,and went further to talk about growing up on the street and the fact that sometimes,he go to bed on an empty stomach because he didn't get anything,and he attributed it to the fact that,the rich are wicked and do not care about their plight.Think of it,with all this kind of exposure and the problems he faces on a daily basis,imagine what he will grow into with the mentality that people are wicked and do not care about them? I did my best to change that perception,but how long will that go to change him if we do not do our best beyond talking and feeling pity for them?


 Their right to education,right to family,and right not to engage in  hazardous labour are all curtailed,not intentionally,but does it matter? Their numbers keep increasing by the day,that is what should be of importance and how to tackle it,rather than questions about how they end up there.

According to Lugalla and Mbwambo,1995 when asked to outlined the causes of streetism,they propelled that,there are natural and man- made causes,they said some do not know their parents because their mother died in the process of childbirth,some are offsprings of prostitutes,and some were rejected because they are handicapped,or out of rape,some respected parents also reject their children because he/she is an outcome of an affair.
Harding succinctly put it that for every cause,there is an effect,he went on to say that "children without education are without future" meaning they will not be able to defend their future,and will face lot of difficulties,and as we are striving to attain middle income status,our approach to achieving this status should be holistic and not partial,we need to move with every sphere of our educational,economic and social life,in the long termism,these children must be properly integrated into the society so they will not feel left out from their peers,eventhough corporate bodies and the Non Governmental Organizations are doing their best,I dare say that the Government must go beyond using this issue as a political gimmick and paying lip service to practically put measures in place to narrow the effects or to completely eliminate the dangers streetism pose for this beautiful Country.

I know of Easter Soup kitchen by Joy FM to put a smile on the faces of this young ones, because I volunteered to be a part of it,and I will advocate that we need to move beyond just feeding them to taking them from the streets,that is why I think this current Government's allocation of GHc6 million to the Department of Social Welfare to fund the operation "get off the streets for a better life" aimed at raiding the streets of street children in April this year  is commendable.

However,little or nothing at all  has been heard about it.

Politicians must move beyond just paying lip service to working,it must manifestly be seen to be done.

As a people,we must do more than just feeling sorry for our brothers and sisters when we hear about this things and provide real support and follow up to track their progress,it is possible,if not,the begging syndicate will continue, unabated,Kayaye's will continue,the armed robbery,the risk of Ghana producing mercenaries and potential of those who feel like the Country has not done enough for them ending up as militants will be more glaring,the girls may end up as prostitutes,and the cycle will continue.


In every disgrace,there is a grace,the battle against streetism has not been lost,we must take a different approach,and we must attach all seriousness and collectively do all within our means  as a people to win the battle against streetism.

We must love them,show concern,it could have been us,if its not,do not turn Your backs on them."If You haven't any charity in Your heart,You have the worst kind of heart"...


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