We’ve been working in Ghana since 1999 to support the most marginalised street-connected children and children with disabilities. For vulnerable pregnant women and young mothers, we create safe spaces, empower them with business training and provide a nurturing environment for their children. Children with disabilities too often miss out on essential early childhood development, so we’re working to make these ECD services inclusive.
of 5-7 year olds have to work.
Children connected to the street in Accra alone.
of children with a disability are out of school.
Supporting street-connected girls who have children of their own
Most of the 61,500 children and young people living on the streets of Accra are girls. They often travel from rural areas to find work. But when they arrive, they have nowhere to stay. Without an education they often work as “Kayaye” (head porters), carrying heavy loads and earning very little for a long day’s work. Poverty leaves them vulnerable to exploitation and many end up engaging in sex work to survive, where they face abuse and violence. These conditions mean many street girls end up having children themselves.
The Young Mothers Support Centre
In 2020 we opened the Young Mothers Support Centre, a new multi-purpose building that provides critical support for 90 pregnant street-connected girls, along with a training centre and a creche. Run by our partner S.AID, it is the only one of its kind in Accra and offers pregnant young women antenatal and post-natal services, counselling and meals.
Young mothers are also provided with a range of vocational training opportunities and life skills classes to empower them financially, allowing them to be independent, plan for the future and support their child. Read more about the centre.
Kayaye in Accra
Vocational training at the centre
Growing up on the streets of Accra
How your support is helping children on the streets break the cycle of poverty
Early childhood development for all children
The first 1,000 days are the most important of a child’s life. Their development during these days affects the rest of their life. For children with disabilities, who are often excluded from early care and education, they are even more critical. However, in Ghana, 33% of children with a disability are out of school.
Improving education for children with disabilities
We’re working with the Ghana Education Service to improve education for children at early childhood centres with disabilities and special learning needs. First, we’re researching inclusive education in ten ECD centres to produce first-time data – a vital first step to improving services for children. We’re also providing inclusion training to 40 teachers and rolling our flagship Learning Support Assistant (LSA) scheme! LSAs, who are similar to Teaching Assistants in the UK, provide one-on-one support to children with disabilities in the classroom. Between 2021 and 2022, we’ll support over 600 children!
Two early childhood development centres for street-connected chidlren
A cycle of poverty and neglect leaves children of all ages on the streets. Babies and toddlers grow up without running water, food or regular changing. With our partner, S.AID, we run two ECD centres in Accra for children aged 0-6. Children who arrive at the centres are often underweight, so three nutritious meals a day ensure that children can grow and develop as they should. Clean water, soap and bins are also available in classrooms to educate children about sanitation. Children don’t just learn basic literacy and numeracy, but also skills like listening, sharing, instilling a love of learning and a chance to explore their creativity and inquisitiveness.
ECD outreach during Covid-19 closures
Young mothers living on the streets had a safe space to stay at the Young Mothers Support Centre in 2020! Can please cyou give £25 to help keep the centre running?
Our response during Covid-19
Lockdowns have had a particularly negative affect on street children, many of whom have become displaced and have difficulty accessing food. S.AID have had to close the Young Mothers Support Centre and the ECD centres.
We’re working with all partners at both organisational and project implementation levels to ensure we can all better adapt to the changes brought on by the crisis. With S.AID, we have been focused on completing the construction of the new Young Mother’s Support Centre which is bigger and can therefore house more girls whilst maintaining social distancing rules. The need for such a safe space for vulnerable young mothers and their babies is greater now more than ever. Through our Response Fund, food supplies have reached 221 vulnerable pregnant women, young mothers and children.
Face masks were made and distributed to mothers involved in our projects through our Covid-19 Response Fund.