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‘Save the Unsaved’ By Stacy M Amewoyi

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Stacy M Amewoyi

This article is dedicated to all street children and orphans and to those who have the emotion to help eliminate the act of streetism and our culture but due to circumstances you are pulling back.

 

INTRODUCTION

Life is full of surprises, but I always say “Life is something not wish for” why am I saying this? Sometimes when you look at the lifestyle of others compare to that of yours, you will realize that indeed life is something not wish for. I come from a family where as young as 10,15 and so on, you have to fight for yourself because there is no one to fight for you. Your parents don’t have it, they are also busy taking care of the young ones so where lay the reason for you to be looking at. Now even having access to education become problem because they can’t afford to pay your bills left alone your books. Then you look at your friends who you are even better than but because of circumstance they are in school while you are in the house. In your own will or wish, you would have wish you can be in the same school with these friends and prove your competent but because you don’t have the needed support you would need therefore you are left behind.

Sometimes, society and peers think you are worthy living for but the truth is that society and those peers don’t know what you are really going through. It’s saddens sometimes to think about the type of emotional, psychological and physical effect these kids go through. Most of these kids have a lot of plans growing up but circumstance will not allow them get to the limit they want to attain. Currently about sixty-one thousand four hundred and ninety-two children are on the street of Accra struggling to make ends meets. As at May 2009, a head count of street children was done in Accra. The result obtained showed that 43% of the total population were males and 57% were females. Large number of can be found on the street of the capitals of Ghana. The areas are: Central Accra, the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Kumasi. Tamale and other major centers. The survey also reveal that large number of this kids are from the Northern Region of Ghana which amount a percentage of 28.53% found on the street of Accra. And smallest number of the children are from Brong-Ahafo Region which form 2.38% of the street children in Accra.

 

 

DEFINITION OF STREETISM:

Streetism is known as children living on the street due to lack of home and neglect from family, parents or guardians. In order words streetism is homeless child that fight on the street to survivor. Most of these kids living on the street are orphans. They are living there because they have no one to relay on. Sometimes what to even eat is a problem for these kids since they have no parents or guardians to take care of them. These kids then take to the street their struggling to be able to survivor life. Which is not supposed to be so but because that is what circumstance has present to them, they have no excuse or whatsoever to rest on the street. Most of these kids are very brilliant in academic but where is the help coming from?

These kids are usual seen in the capitals of the region or country. Hawking on the street just for some to eat. There have been a lot of speculations about streetism in the country, according to report about 27,000 children are on the streets of Ghana. As to what cause these number of streetism in the country, it is yet to be confirm. A lot of this kids are school going age but unfortunate for them they found themselves on the street of the country. Either hawking for food of sealing for living. The total population of children in Ghana under the age of 15 is 38.01% the human resource potential that contribute to the development of the country is the youth. But most of these people are on the street day-in- day-out, unemployed.

CAUSES OF STREETISM:

A survey was carryout to find out what trigger these alarming streetism in the country. The responses of these questions were mostly done by the victims themselves and the responses are as follows:

• POVERTY: Some of the responded believes that poverty is a major problem to the streetism challenge we are facing as a country. According to them, due to financial constrains in some most party of the country, especially in the Northern part of the country, the children believe they have to come to the capital to make a living for themselves and their families back home. Which when they travel here, do not have a better place living, therefore the need for them to sleep on the street in order to make meaningful living for themselves.
• UNEMPLOYMENT: some people are also of the believe that unemployment is a result of the increase in streetism in the country. Due to lack of unemployment being increase in the country, the parents of these children have no work to do in order to help their kids for their needs and therefore the children are force to be on the street to fight for themselves. Which results in streetism and children are been abandon by their parents.
• SCHOOL DROPP OUT: Another in-triggering revelation was about school dropped out. As I stated earlier most of these children are school going age but due a factor best known to them, they are now on the street hawking and pass on the night on the street. Most of these children have being on the street for about three, four etc. on the street. The reason is that most of these children are still having school at the back of their mind, but the means are not there for them to go back to the classroom. Some of them have being in school and due to the financial constrains they have to dropped out of school others have also not being to school at all. They reason was that, their parents said they can’t afford to pay for their bills in school. These children trope int the cities with an agenda of making money go back to school, when they get to the cities, the agenda change. This is due to lack of decent job for this school going children.
• BROKEN HOMES: Another major factor that comes to play during the encounter with the children, is that of broken homes in the country. Most of the children are on the street as a result of broken homes, life on the street of our country has become unbearable for them but since they have no other option therefore the street becomes their first option. Research have shown that divorce is on the rise in the country, about 4,000 divorce cases recorded every year in Ghana as at the year 2017. due to this high tendency of divorce in the country, it turns out that the children coming from such family are really going through a lot in life. They may either have their mother or father at the end. What happens is that, when the said parent decides to remarry to another person in which the comfortability of the children is no more a grantee, then the children feel uncomfortably and therefore take to the street for their aid. Also, when the need of the child become too much for the parents to take care of, the child then become a victim of abuse in the house since the step-father or mother can’t provide for them.  They are force to do works that they can’t do and when they complain, their parents subject them to a hardship punishment that lead to them moving to the street to fight for their own life.
• PARENTAL NEGLECT: Another associated causes of streetism is parental neglect. Children who are from a family of more kids in Ghana are likely to face parental neglect in one way or the other. Their parents think it time to pay attention to the young ones to so these kids are left to fight their battle to get to the top in which the battle have not being easy and result in them matching on the street of the country.
• RURAL URBAN MIGRATION: Most of street children in Ghana are found in the virous cities like Kumasi, Accra, Tamale and etc. about 50,000 of these children are in Accra alone. These are partly because of rural urban migration. These movement is done in search of green pasturing in the cities, this is because of the economic activities in the major cities. Since children from the rural areas don’t have any family members in the cities, it then becomes problematic for the children to get a place laying their head, they then forming alliance with other children on the street and they end being on the streets.
• SECOND GENERATIONAL STREET CHILDREN: Some children are born of parents who are on the streets. This automatically makes the street their homes, as such these children end up also being on the street since they have nowhere else called home other than the street.

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL & EMOTIONAL EFFECT

These children psychologically feel left alone in the communities they are coming from. Sometimes the neglect and the over-abuse of them by the people in the society allow them drawn a conclusion for their life. Most of these kids are going through mental trauma in life. The neglect, poverty, lost of parents, unemployment and other factors pushes them to go on the street and fight for life which have turned some of the ladies into commercial sex workers, arm robbers, street hawker etc. Most of which have been killed by coming cross either the police when engaging in the robbery or fall sick and die on the street due to lack of help from the parents, family, society or the government at large.
Some of them are also having mental challenge issues because they engage themselves in hard drugs because there is no one to talk to them or counsel them on the need of staying away from such drugs that are dangerous to their health. In an interview with some of them, they made mention that should they get the chance of going back to school, they will but the help is not there. So is better for them being on the street then going back to school where they are not going to get help from anywhere.  When asked why are they not in the orphanage homes? They said “sometimes they don’t get all their needs in the orphanage homes therefore makes life uncomfortable living in those homes.”  Some even continue by saying “what comes to their mind sometimes is about committing suicide seems that is the only option they can stop all the suffering they are going through as kids.
Some of the effect the are as follows:

❖ HEALTH HAZARD: The children said, health issues is a major concern to them since the second to non-security. Because what they are going through, they are urge to work under any environment they found themselves to be able to make life more-easier for themselves. In the cost of that, they also make themselves vulnerable to all sort pf thing that comes their way. Some of them go through defilement which is also against their wish that they have to work as commercial sex workers in other to meet their needs but in this case, they are force against will. More of they to go through illness like Fever, Malaria etc.
❖ SEXUAL ASSAULTS: Like-wise the health hazard, most of these children, the lack of security is a major problem to them. Since it is difficult to ascertain the exact location or resident of these children, the insecurity level is low as far as these children are concern. Due to that these children are easily fall as preys to any possible harmful people. As a result, they are at greater risk compare to their colleagues that have parents or are living in the various orphanage homes. Most of these children becomes pregnant and also bring forth kids that will be fatherless in the society which increases the level of streetism in the country.
Also, in the cost of this sexual assaults, the stand a high chance of getting STIs. And when they later find out, the state they are in terms of their statues are tempted to commit suicide in order to end the trauma they are supposedly going through.
❖ INCREASE IN CRIME WAVE: streetism poses a greater threat to Ghana, Africa and the world at large. Like I stated earlier, most crimes like armed robbery, commercial sex workers and drug abuse are related to streetism. Since lack of formal education, learning f trade is problem to this young boys and girls on the street, they turned out engaging in such vices to meet end means for living. These hence poses a high rate of insecurity to the country, continent and the global at large hence to need to have a national dialog as to how to help get this out of our streets and get the needed support they need.

 

THE FEEL OF NEGLECT

Now one of the most painful aspect of life is when you know there is someone who can help you but have just decided not to do so. Like I said in my intro, some of us happen to come from such society but it was the grace of God that have guide us through.  What happens to those that don’t have any support at all? Most of these children are as a result of been thrown out of their homes, community by circumstances they found themselves. These children go through the following neglect.

➢ FAMILY NEGLECT: Family is the primary neglect of all the neglect. Like the saying goes “charity begin at home” and so am of the believe that, whatsoever that a child goes through in life begins at home. Now let take the issue of you having parents who hardly have time for you the child in terms of your academia, health and what have you? What do you thing the child would think about you? Most of our parents are busy having time with their work than we the child that they claim is the reason why they are going about doing all this work.
How would you feel as parent who wakes-up around 4am at which time the child is still on bed and returned around 9-10 pm when that child is asleep? Now these goes to school or out with friends and see them moving with their parents always dropping them off school and even some social gathering. Parents you are not just neglecting them but also giving them the chance to associate with the street people since that is the only place, they feel welcome.
Also, another aspect has to with the orphans. About 70% of these children are orphans. Now in most part of the country, the orphans are the ones that fall to this neglect mostly. Why am I saying this? When these children turn to lose their parents to a circumstance beyond their control, they turn to have problem with some of the extended family members to fight them for the property the deceased have left for their children. When is in the case of the father that have lost his life, the mother and the children become the victim of the but when in the case where the two parties are dead the children suffer these consequences, the family throw the children on the street and take over the property living the children to hit the street.
➢ FRIENDS NEGLECT: Children on the street feel neglect by some of their friends as a result why they are where they are now. Most of these children believes that their friends can be of help to them when they are facing some issues but at the end these friends neglect them. Most of these people are victims in school when they are not actually doing well, the friends laugh at them and shame them in the present of others at the end they decide to hit the street for assistance because they believe that they can get friends on the street because they are all the same on the street.
➢ SOCIETY NEGLECT: Society as we know are there to be of help to their citizens of the society. Most society in the area have influence on the life of people in the society and in the country at large. Society have a group of people that help them to dialogue on important issues and bring development to the society, but it seems society are not doing enough for the street children in country, as a writer I have come in contact with a lot of people who seems the opinion leaders are not considering the life that these children in the country. Almost every society in this country have Churches, schools, hospitals etc.
Now the question is that what are the society doing to help these children. For instead the church can help adopt some of these children but very few are doing this in the society. The very people who pay tithe and offering in the church are neglected when they need help and these children are left vulnerable in the society.
➢ GOVERNMENT NEGLECT: Most of these children feel neglected by the government yet still government is doing all it can to eliminate the streetism on our street, they think the government isn’t doing enough to tackle the issues at hand. Some group of individuals also believe that the government can do more by taking a close look at the orphanage homes in the country and equip them with the necessary need items to make them capable to help these children to grow into what they desire in life. government over the years have seen implementing some flagship program to help eliminate the children on the street. But is as if those flagship programs are just doing nothing to zero in terms of getting the kids off the street. The ministry of Gender and Social Protection have been seen getting some of these children to learn some trade that would help them it seems it not enough as compare to the number of children on the street of the country.

 

THE EFFECT OF STREETISM ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COUNTRY

Streetism have a lot of effects on the development of every country if not taking good care of. Some of these effects are: Low Productivity, Increase in crime, Lower human per capital income. Low labor force. Many are of the view that, the rate of effect in the development in any country can’t be unmind. This is because you children are on the street instead of going to school, these are the same children that are yet to become the future leaders in these country due the reasons stated, these children are on the street fight life, of which most of them become criminals, commercial sex workers, hawkers and etc.
Low Productivity: Low productivity was one thing the citizens talk about. This is because young people of the working age are found on the street hawking or doing something else on the street. They don’t even have a place to lay down their head left alone to think about work. Other are also of the view that when these children are giving a proper housing, they would equally contribute to the development of the country.
SHELTERS FOR STREET CHILDREN

Mokomane and Makaoae (2015) did research to ascertain how these children on the street get a shelter for themselves in South Africa. They describe that shelters offer a lot of developmental processes, such as therapeutic ones. The shelters also have frivolous programs at an early intrusion level. In the study it is described that children ‘of the street’ live and sleep on the streets in urban areas and the streets are their homes they do everything there without having any place in mind; whereas children ‘on the street’ have homes, families but only comes to the streets to beg for money due to financial problem, they come there in the morning and returned to their families in the evening. Children of the streets have a home they seldom visit; the street is their main residence (Chireshe, Jadezweni, Cekiso, et al, 2014).

Mokomane and Makaoaes (2015) main findings showed that all shelters offer some form of therapeutic, developmental and frivolous programs and that they are trying to reach the street children at a precautionary level.  It is very prudent to look at the basic needs of the children first to eliminate the basic needs of the individual for instead, needs of food and clothing, then they look at the psycho-social nature, where the person is offered an accustomed consultation. The next step is to find out what stage of development the children have reached, listen to the events that have affected their lives, and focus on their family backgrounds; then one can finally assess the root of why the child has been living on the street. The causes of children living on the street has been attributed to a combination of socio-economic factors, such as high levels of unemployment, family poverty, increasing levels of union instability and dissolutions, lack of family support systems, high virus (HIV) prevalence, substance abuse and domestic violence (Mokomane & Makaoae, 2015).

 

THE TURNING POINT

The Turning Point refers to a stay where people who are going through the suffering from destructive live realize that what he or she is going through is not the best way to go and decide to reframe from what they are to a new person. There are people who have being through several of things that they are not willingly to do but due to the condition they found themselves, they are force to do. Now these people turned back when they finally found someone they can trust and relayed on in terms of their basic needs. And some of these people happen to be NGO’s, NPO’s etc.
Most of these NGO’s take it upon themselves to help these kids get back on their fit to also become responsible and influential people in the society and the world at large extend. The NPO’s adopt the children from the street give them a better education and an entrepreneurship skill in order to better themselves in life. One thing that also help in the turning point aspect got to do with a professional counseling session for the kids, they make mention that when they have a good session of counseling, it boosts their motivational idea in terms what to do in life for live. According to Fuchs Ebaugh (1988) there are several types of turning points that claim the time period of making a role choice important. In terms of time, a person can be gradually evolved to the point of making a firm decision about a role choice; for some people, the decision to resign a role occurred gradual over many months or even years. Others experience a more abrupt and dramatic turning point. In some cases, these turning points where major events; in many other cases the event itself was minor, but took on a great symbolic importance because the fact that it symbolized the culmination of feelings and role ambivalence.

There are five major types of events of specific turning points: (1) specific events, (2) “the straw that broke the camel’s back”, (3) time-related factors, (4) excuses and (5) either/or alternatives. Specific events are occurrences that gel one’s contradiction toward a current role and place the choice to exit in bold relief. These events could for example be death in a family. A second type of specific tuning point is an event that followed gradual build-up feelings; also described as “straws that broke the camel’s back”. The specific event came at a point where the individual was ripe to make a decision. The event simply became the occasion to take a firm stand and announce an exit. A third type of event that served as a turning point related to time factors, such as different crisis related to age. A fourth type of turning point was an incident that provided excuses or justifications for the need to leave a role. Some event made it clear that an exit was necessary for the individual’s well-being.

The final type of turning point is the either/or situations that is a realization of either seeking for help or end up dead due to the circumstances in their current lives. This stage is defined by realizing that behavioral changes are needed in order to survive. It is also about adjust to different environments. The realization of change can occur after an event, after realizing the risks of a certain behavior or after reaching a point where it is impossible to go on. The realization often occurs after a dramatic event such as fights, accidents or significant events in individuals themselves.

Behavioral or identity changes are often noticed or observed by surroundings or professionals; since it affects individuals strongly when it comes to interaction, reaction and behavior. Turning point is also characterized by a pile of robust emotions. Professionals observe piles of different emotions from individuals reaching this step mentally, the robust emotions show that the individual have attain a point where it is dreadful to act and behave like in the past. Fuchs Ebaugh (1998) trusts that the emotional reactions vary contingent on what kind of partings it is, what phase in life the individual is at the time and the neighboring circumstances.

Thinking in terms of a Turning Point is relevant in a context where people, or in this case children are exposed to violence or a destructive environment but manage to survive and adjust to new circumstances

SOLUTION

One thing that came in was about how to find solution to the issue of streetism in the country in the in the world at large. The whole problem of streetism can be minimized if not even eliminate completely. The following are the way in which we can fight the canker of streetism in the country:

✓ NGO’s/NPO’s AID these are non-governmental and non-profit Organizations whose aim is to help sensitized the system of poor and rich people in the society. Most of these organizations don’t even have a source of income but yet still the help of some aid from cooperate bodies, they are able to help these children by giving them vocational training to those who didn’t get the chance of getting formal education. These also visit most of the orphanage homes to extend their helping hand the various orphanage homes. Which have seen improvement in the life of most of these children and there we encourage anyone who is can help them NGO’s/NPO’s to help these kids for them to also get formal education and live a better life.
✓ GOVERNMENT AID: There government at the end have a lot to do when it comes to the issues of streetism. Streetism like I stated in my intro is really affecting the national one way or the other. There the government at the end of the is urge to create employment strategy to help ease the rural urban migration, in that case, the streetism would be minimized. Also, when the kids are taken from the street to the various orphanage homes, it is the sole responsibility of the government to make sure these children have a better place to live. And also giving the needed attention that their parents were given to them before they passed on or the type of love, they were not getting from these parents needs to be provided to them. Government can also give most of these poor community some scholarship grant to help them also compete with their colleagues in the city. In this case there wouldn’t be anything like to move from the village or the small community to the city for any reason.
✓ CIVIC EDUCATION: Parents, guardians’ and the Society have to be education on the consequence of throw out these children on the street. Most of the people to do not know the danger involve when throwing out their children or their relatives on the street just because may that child have lost a father, mother or both parties in the case of the orphans. They also have to be educated that every child is important, and they all have their weakness so when a child not as strong as you want, he or she to be doesn’t mean that child can’t do anything to help the society. Most of these children grow to become one of the most prominent people in the society. And therefore, must be giving attention likewise others.
✓ ADAPTATION: Adaptation is one of the best solutions in the case of streetism in the country and global perspective. Most of our mothers and sister, sorry to say they are barren by nature and nothing can change that, these class of people go through a lot in the house anytime their partners are not around the loneliness alone can kill one before her time. The question is why going through such a difficult moment alone whereas there are a lot of children out there on the street looking for people to call family, mother, father, sister and brother. If you have what it takes to add to your own kid.
Lack of basic resources and food, if there is room for more, it’s okay to get an orphan (some come into your life with blessing, joy, and laughter) let’s encourage adoption and impacting in people life. If you have girls and need boys let’s adopt. As you hit an elderly age, adopting will help cure your depression and loneliness by the kids keeping you busy and making the house lively.
To minimize criminal act and prostitution is through adoption to help the community and give a bright future for the kids. Even within Ghana and all part of the world we are called to be steward so let’s not look out for ourselves.  Adoption in itself is a vast umbrella which necessitates different elements and with that comes the advantages and disadvantages.
I am a firm believer in the process of adoption but before anyone adopts a child, you have to do your research and know what the terms and conditions that are available. Adoption is taking somebody else child and nurturing them as your own. There are two type of adoption. Namely: the open adoption and the close adoption. One thing we also have to under is that it’s reasonable to adopt when that child is still in his or her infancy or when their toddlers: this is because it’s easy to build that chemistry bond with the children compare to when they are already in their teenage stage or older. But about it all, it doesn’t necessary matter the age of the child. As long as you have a good home and the right resources and you are ready that’s all matters.
A child future is better nourished by loving and responsible individuals rather than, them being somewhere else where they are neglected and not taken care of.
The adoption screening process should find parents who are good adoption candidates whiles removing those unable to handle the arrangement. When a good family adopt a child, they receive the love and support necessary to have a good childhood. They may get to experience new siblings in the new family and build bonds that last a lifetime. Some adopted children come from abusive or neglecting background and get the experience the peace od a functional family life. with their adoptive families. In other cases, the parents are physically or emotionally unable to raise the child. When these parents terminate parental rights for adoption purposes, they are seeking the help they needed while they are still providing a good life for their baby. Adoptive parents will typically provide medical care for a new birth and pay all expenses regarding the legal process.
The con is that adopting a child is typically a long, drawn-out process. Once you decide the kind of agency best suited to your situation, you will begin an application process. You will complete a state-required, two-months home study process that will investigates your ability to raise a child and your background. Once you are certified as an eligible adoptive family, you are placed on a waiting list for a baby-which can take months or years. You may receive a notice of an available baby only to find out the birth mother changed her mind about adoption or seek to restore parental right.
In a shea nut adoption does have a psychological and emotional toll on that particular child. Every child is different and requires different set of attention. So, whenever you decide to adopt please bear with the ancey and try to make this as smooth as possible. Also do your research and be aware of the terms and conditions before dive in.

 

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