Or, will your future be succumbed to a depleted fate?
I see no justification in trading your innocence
Your parents are just architects of negligence.
I hope and pray for a redefined destiny
And may you be far from any atrocity
I pray life offers you a better treat
And your life never goes back on the street.
A short introduction of Lavielle and our Junior Program
Before we continue with today’s topic “Streetism” we would like to introduce the writer to you.
Here is a short video of Lavielle who has been a student of our Junior Program in Nima-Accra for a long time. Despite her physical handicap Lavielle is full of energy, an ambitious student as well as the founder and leader of an youth organisation called “GADA” (Girls Against Drug Abuse).
Our Junior Program is empowering less privileged children through education and medical support in Nima-Accra. This is where our founder and chairman, Amin Zaaki, was born and raised. He knows by his own experience what it means to live and survive in places like Nima, Mamobi or Newtown. He believes in the power of formal and informal education and that it is one way out of poverty. Our afternoon Kids Club is providing a safe space to the children and youth of the neighbourhood where they can meet, play, read, do their homework or seek advice from our team.
MENACE OF STREET CHILDREN
An Essay by Zeinab Lavielle Ibrahim
Streetism has become a normal routine to the eyes of many. Why fancy streetism? Personally my pen goes to book upon seeing street children. “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write’’ Martin Luther once said. I believe in writing to bring out the voice of the voiceless. Street children involve neglected kids, children from broken homes, poverty stricken children, etc.
The living of homeless or unmonitored children on the street is called streetism. Also streetism can be as a result of increased urbanization and the difficult socio-economic circumstances rural families are experiencing. Thus, most people in rural communities admire the idea of living in the city, little do they know about the challenges associated. On the street of Nima, Fadaama, Ashiaman, Madina, Agbobloshie, etc. the lives of teens on the street cannot be counted. It saddens my heart to see the future struggling to fend for themselves.
Currently, about sixty-one thousand children are on the streets of Accra struggling to make ends meet. In May 2009, a head count of street children was done in Accra. The result obtained showed that 43% of the total population were males and the 57% were females.
Exposure to rape, murder, prostitution, vandalism and illegal drug usage is highly experienced by street children. During traffic jams. Street children seek for alms and even follow vehicles upon moving which life is very threatening. Someone might ask how deadly is this? For a pesewa or cedi, a street child must follow a vehicle whiles moving to the expense of claiming one’s life.
Respectively, Parents and Guardians, why leave a child to the street? The danger in living on the street is soo bad. Nailing down to “Faceless” by Amma Atta Aidoo can mirror the contemporary life of a street child. Whether poor or rich, there’s no justification in leaving a child to the street. Little attention is given to alarming issues like ’’Streetism’’. It is a cycle of violence and complications. Children supposed to be acquiring learning skills are out there on the streets endangering their lives. I ask myself, where are Government Officials, Religious Heads, Community Leaders, Parents and or Guardians? Why have we instilled fear in being Voices to the Voiceless?
Effectively, Public education is a tool in curbing streetism. Parents, guardians, children, religious heads, etc. must be educated intensively on the effect of streetism. Streetism leads to extreme deprivation and social exclusion, creating avenues for engaging in crimes. This must be well-known to people. Parents must engage themselves in trading activities to fend for their children. ‘Poverty is the mother of crime’’ said by a Roman statesman. Also, Rehabilitation is another way to eradicate streetism. Trading ideas, formal education and handmade skills must be equipped to street children in rehabilitation firms. Related organizations like Street Children Empowerment Foundation (SCEF) must be established to support street children and their families.
The Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection must stand up to its work. They must walk up to major streets and at least not lend a helping hand but give the street child a right to a better life. The Government, Corporate Ghana, Media and all citizens must work vigorously to eradicate streetism. Putting all hands to wheel, lets find a lasting solution to end streetism.
Let’s ensure that, the street do not become breeding grounds for social vices. I vividly believe, our effort can unearth the creativity in a street child for a better Ghana. I call on politicians and appeal to them, Let’s take a bi-partisan method to deal with street children. I, Ibrahim Lavielle Zeinab believe the standard of life is raised by being more human and less being.