We’ve been working in Ghana since 1999 to support street-connected children and young women. For over 20 years we’ve worked with our partner Street Girls Aid to ensure greater economic empowerment for young street-connected mothers, and to provide children with critical access to quality early childhood development services so they can have the best start possible.
Children connected to the street in Accra alone.
Of 5 to 17 year olds have to work.
Of the population live on less than £1.50 a day.
Giving a better start in life to street connected toddlers and young children
A vicious cycle of poverty and neglect increases the likelihood of children ending up on the streets. Babies and toddlers grow up without running water, food or regular changing. They can suffer abuse, incur injuries in the market where their mum works, contract diseases and lack the pre-school education they need to pass the compulsory exam into primary school.
We support two early childhood development centres
We support our local partner, Street Girls Aid, to 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. Older children are prepared to pass the compulsory primary school entrance exam.
ECD outreach during Covid-19 closures
“In the past I used to have my child strapped on my back the whole day in the hot sun whilst carrying heavy loads. I used to have severe back pains and cannot work for longer hours. But now when I send my child to the school I am comfortable that he is in a safe environment learning and playing until I go back for him.“Mother at the centre
Pregnant women, young mothers and their children received essential food packages under lockdown. Will you help us to continue to provide ongoing support?
Supporting street connected girls who have children of their own
57% of the 61,500 children and young people living and working on the streets of Accra are girls under the age of 18. Without an education, these girls often work as “Kayaye” (head porters), carrying heavy loads and earning as little as 8p for a day’s work. Poverty and a lack of a regular income leaves them vulnerable to exploitation, and many end up engaging in sex work to survive. Sexual violence and abuse on the streets are a regular occurrence. These conditions mean many street girls end up having children themselves.
We built the Young Mothers Support Centre
Recently we rebuilt the Young Mothers Support Centre, after the old building had to be partially demolished. The new multi-purpose building provides critical urgent support for pregnant street girls and vulnerable young mothers, along with a training centre and a creche.
Like the ECD centres, the Young Mothers Support Centre provides a safe haven away from the streets. This Centre is the only one of its kind in Accra, offering pregnant street girls and young mothers invaluable anti-natal and post-natal services, counselling and emotional support, meals and various types of vocational training including catering, dress making, hairdressing.
The new centre
Vocational training at the centre
Street connected children aged 0-6 reached with inclusive early childhood development support in 2019. £25 could provide ten of these children with three meals a day for a week at an ECD centre.
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. Street Girl 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 Street Girls 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. In the meantime, to address more immediate needs, through our Response Fund Street Girls Aid are providing food supplies for 221 vulnerable pregnant women, young mothers and children who would have been able to access help at the Support Centre.
Additionally, we’re providing PPE (including soap, sanitisers and face masks) through our Response fund as well as producing and distributing masks.
Face masks were made and distributed to mothers involved in our projects through our Covid-19 Response Fund.