By: Joseph Twum Boateng
In recent years, the issue of street children has become a pressing concern in Ghana. These vulnerable young souls, often abandoned or left to fend for themselves, roam the streets of Ghanaian cities and towns, struggling to survive in harsh conditions. The phenomenon of street children has reached an alarming proportions, raising questions about the root causes and the urgent need for intervention to address this humanitarian crisis.
The Escalating Problem
The sight of children begging, scavenging for food, and sleeping on the streets has become distressingly common in Ghana. According to UNICEF, there were an estimated 61,492 street children in Ghana in 2019, and this number has been steadily rising since then. This issue is not confined to any particular region but can be witnessed in urban centers like Accra, Kumasi, and Tamale, as well as in smaller towns across the country.
It would be recalled that, as a governmental policy, in 2022, the Government of Ghana through various Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies repatriated over 1,320 beggars and children on the major streets of various cities including that of Kumasi, back to their respective countries.
However, these once repatriated beggars are back again in a steady growing numbers on the streets of Kumasi, particularly, in areas like Asokwa, Aboabo and Alabar, all suburbs of the Ashanti regional Capital.
Pure FM’s Joseph Twum Boateng who has been following this resurgence, reports that the beggars are mostly from Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad and South Sudan.
Joseph Twum Boateng in an interaction with some of these beggars who mostly allow their kids to front these begging activities of theirs, narrates that, some of the beggars claim they paid around CFA 150,000 (GHS2,800) to ‘human smuggling agents’ to enter into Ghana through some unapproved routes.
According to some of the beggars, they’re very happy in Ghana because they make a lot of money to cater for themselves and their families.
However, a further call to the Ashanti Regional office of the Department of Social Welfare revealed that, the outfit is under-resourced to initiate concrete actions to tackle this re-emerging problem.
The source who pled anonymity intimated that the issue of foreign beggars on the street needed a concerted and coordinated intervention of all the key government agencies to resolve as the Social Welfare in its current state can do very little to alleviate the challenge.
“Resource the Social Welfare to undertake projects that can rid Kumasi again from these street kids. Government should also tackle aggressively the issue of unapproved routes to Ghana and human smugglers.”
“It must be significantly noted again that the prevalence of street children in Ghana is a heartbreaking crisis that demands immediate attention and action. It is not only a matter of child welfare but also a reflection of the society’s commitment to its most vulnerable members. Addressing the root causes, providing support, and ensuring access to education are essential steps in rehabilitating these children and giving them the chance to lead fulfilling lives away from the harsh streets since not all street children and child beggars are foreigners.
Ghanaian society must come together to protect its future generations and ensure that no child is left behind on the streets.” The source remarked.
The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly must as a matter of urgency re-strategize to rid the street of the Ashanti regional Capital of these beggars and street kids as they have once again become a nuisance to the public.
Source: Purefmonline.com || Joseph Twum Boateng (KNUST) || September 26, 2023