Growing Number of Street Children; A Threat to Security in Ashanti Region

The Ashanti region office of the social welfare department is seeking support to halt the increasing number of children living homeless on the streets of Kumasi.

These street children are mostly found loitering about in the central business district and spend their nights in front of stores and overcrowded shacks.

Their main stay is menial jobs, head pottering and child prostitution.

Some of the youngsters, who spoke to Ultimate News’ Azia Survival on her tour of the night life in Kejetia, explained they were lured from their villages by friends who painted economically bright prospects about Kumasi to them.

A sixteen year old boy told Azia, “I was in Nkoransa when a friend told me being a head porter in Kumasi was lucrative but I realize life here in Kejetia is not easy.”

A thirteen year old boy said he had come from a cocoa town in Sefwi where he felt he had no support from his parents who were cocoa farmers.

“I have been here looking for a job and I now sell Yoghurt. I sleep together with some other fifteen boys in one crowded room at night. It is very uncomfortable in there,” he narrated.

A nine year old girl, who claims her grandmother brought her to Kumasi only to have her sell sachet water till night, broke into tears when she begged Azia to help her get back to her mother in Asaman Kesse.

Some of the youngsters who are unfortunate to find any place to spend the night; have had to sleep in the open with the heavy down pours making their stay most uncomfortable in recent months.

Ashanti region director of the social welfare department Benjamin Otoo indicated his outfit was worried “the number of “children living in the streets keep increasing.”

He indicated that though the social welfare had lost count of the number of children, “if you did a population census of all the street children about eighty percent (80%) of them are from northern Ghana.

He attributed the escalating phenomenon to a number of push and pull factors that keep attracting and compelling children to end up homeless and catering for themselves on the streets of Kumasi.

He is worried the children could grow into social miscreants to trouble security and coherence in the Ashanti region.

Benjamin Otoo appealed for the support of nongovernmental organisations and better coordinated government support programs to help alleviate the plight of the children.