The role of the everyday Ghanaian in addressing the issues of children in street situations is a call to change of attitude towards how we address Streetism as individuals. The everyday Ghanaian has a mentality that to be on the street is to be a criminal, disrespectful and unwanted child. What is missing here is their actual reasons for being there which can only be discovered when we get closer.
Another objective for this year’s celebration of the International Day for Street Children in Ghana is to have a holistic approach that involves the family, the society and the state in addressing the issues of street children. This comes as a result of the everyday Ghanaian associating everything with the Government. Looking away from the issues is causing us more harm than before thus, for us at Starlight Foundation, for the everyday Ghanaian to be involved:
- WE NEED TO STRENGTHEN FAMILY BONDS
The current family structures are causing many children to feel abandoned and out of control. There’s the need to revisit our extended family structure where every child had a place to stay and an elderly guardian to monitor them. Families should take full responsibility for the nurturing of their children and should not turn a blind eye when their children are going astray. This goes a long way to ensure that children do not find the street a safe place whiles they have a family back home.
- MCEs and DCEs SHOULD GET INVOLVED
Our local assembly should revive their approach to Streetism to actively involve stakeholders such as families and Non Profitable Organizations. Street connected children can be found everywhere, especially in the major cities of the country. Metropolitan and District Chief Executives should help connect these children back to their families and refer others to NPOs within the communities for further assistance.
- COMMUNITY MEMBERS SHOULD HELP WHOLEHEARTEDLY
The reasons why some of these children come to the street can be addressed when we show concern. You will be surprised how little their issues are and how little we can do to help them. Some need trade, education and a safe place to stay. As community members, provision of these things will not only clear our streets but reduce our crime levels as these children involve themselves in all kinds of vices when they do not receive the needed attention and help.
We can do more when we come together to address the plight of street-connected children. Let’s have an attitudinal change and know that street-connected children are children first, and their rights and lives need to be protected.
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