“Our lives began 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 Cities, Towns, and Villages in recent times.
One question which lingers on the lips of many who care, is what accounts 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 feed and clothe 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 goes 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 labor 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.
This 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 work, 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 it’s not, do not turn your backs on them. “If you haven’t any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart”…