Streetism in Ghana; fact or myth?

Streetism in Ghana; fact or myth?

YEN contributor, Adu-Gyamfi Jacqueline writes on the dangers of streetism, and what can be done to end it.

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Streetism in Ghana; fact or myth?
Streetism is a serious societal challenge in Ghana

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Many at times children who are supposed to be in the class learning to achieve a goal in the nearest future end up on the street.

Streetism can be a cause of broken homes, child's inability to learn or something different he or she does not wish to share.

A child may have the ambition of being a footballer, caterer, musician, journalist and many others but would not want to go to school to further his or her education before he or she can become what he or she want to be.

Most children think or see it of no use to waste their time to go to school but rather focus more on their dreams which shouldn't be the case.

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Sometimes you'll see young children hawking by the road side which to me isn't fair. They'll usually be selling whilst their colleagues are in the classrooms learning.

Some of them wish to be in the class but as a result of broken homes, or poverty they have no other option but to sell before they can get money to buy food.

When couples divorce, it's either the mother or the father who takes responsibility of the child or children but it rather turns upside down which leads the children to the street to sell and hustle for themselves which is very painful.

The ability to survive and thrive in the face of child abuse and neglect depends on a variety of factors, including the extent and type of abuse or neglect, whether it was continual or infrequent, the age of the child when abuse was initiated, the child's relationship to the abuser, and how the abuse or neglect was responded to if discovered or disclosed.

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Outcomes are also dependent on the child's personally traits, inner strength and the support the child receives from those around them.

Neglected children are also at considerable risk.

These children are more likely than other children to suffer from a serious physical injury due to an accident such as falling, drowning, fire or ingesting poison.

They are also at greater risk than other children of being physically and sexually abused from an unrelated caretaker, often times a significant other or friend of their parent(s).

Street children is a term for children experiencing poverty (homelessness) who are living on the streets of a city and selling their bodies to survive.

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Street kids and street youth; the definition of street children is contested, but many practitioners and policymakers use UNICEF's concept of boys and girls, aged under 18years,for whom "the street (including unoccupied dwellings and waste land) has become home and their source of livelihood and who are inadequately or supervised.

The online learning resource, Wikipedia defines streetism as " a broad term used to encompass the desperate situation of children who are forced to spend most of their time outside their homes,engaging in menial income generating activities in order to survive, and often having to sleep rough on the streets."

The phenomenon is growing in Ghana and we should not pretend that it does not exist. We must find a way to solve it before the situation gets out of hand. Available statistics from the Youth Development Council indicates that Kumasi has more than 10,000 children.

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According to Mr.Maxwell Kofi Jumah, the Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive, most of these children are found along Kejetia and the Racecourse lorry parks, Roman Hill, Amakom Roundabout and Anloga Junction.

He said the few who acknowledge paternity are either too young to have any source of livelihood to be able to maintain these children or are simply irresponsible.

Mr Jumah said these poor mothers, who are unaware of their rights and the laws relating to child maintenance, are unable to seek redress at the appropriate institutions.

With the help of the president and my upcoming foundation we can bring up something which will make parents get scared and not leave their children on the street.

And also take them to the children's home and register them there, and be donating to them from time to time,with these i think the level of streetism will decrease drastically.

Adu-Gyamfi Jacqueline

Student journalist

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