Ghana as a sovereign state has as a set of regulations as enshrined in the 1992 constitution, the Children’s Act 1998. These rules are to “reform and consolidate the law relating to children, to provide for the rights of the child, maintenance and adoption, regulate child labour and apprenticeship, for ancillary matters concerning children generally” and was assented to in December 1998 to be enacted. But over the years there has been a total disregard for a section if not all of these regulations.
One critical part of these laws that has been rubbished over the years is sections 5,6 and 12 of the Act. Whiles section 5 allows children to grow up with parents, section 6 affords them parental duty and responsibility with section 12 Protecting them from exploitative labour. All around us we see parents shrieking their responsibilities towards their wards. Such behaviours have given credence to the raise of Streetism in the country. Children who feel unsafe, unwanted, or abused in their homes run away to other places to belong or feel secured from such abusive parents or guardians.
Section 16 mandates 2 bodies to see to the needs of these children should their parents fail to, i.e District Assemblies and the Department of Social Welfare. While the District Assemblies “shall protect the welfare and promote the rights of children within its area of authority and shall ensure that within the district, governmental agencies liaise with each other in matters concerning children”, The Social Welfare and Community Development Department of a District Assembly “referred to in this Act as “the Department” shall investigate cases of contravention of children rights”.
The question to ask then is; have these bodies lived up to their mandates? We all know what the answer is, a big NO. What then is/are the factor(s) for their inactivity? Is it that we as a nation are OK with how our streets and communities are littered with homeless children often indulging in life-threatening activities just to make ends meet or we are just not concerned because they are not our own? There is an adage in Akan that says, obia nmim obrepong ashasi3 to wit no one knows the beginning of a king. One thing I’ve come to believe in from the birth of Jesus is that, if the owner of the Manger in which Jesus was born had known it was the saviour who was about to be born, he would have given up his bed for his birth.
This is a clarion call to us all especially the duty bearers to rise and let’s fight against Streetism. It is becoming a social canker that begs for urgent solutions.
A stitch in time has always been a saviour. They also matter!
#Let’sTalkAboutThem #YENHOHIA #TheStreetMatters #RepresentationIsTheWay #WeMatterToo