According to UNICEF estimates, there are over 300 million children living on the streets
across the world. They have to struggle with harsh conditions, endure rough working situations
for many hours every day in order to earn their daily bread. Their diet is unbalanced and they
sleep in an unsanitary and noisy environment. In addition they have to cope with mischief and
violence by elders.
Besides poverty a UNICEF study reveals that abandonment, parents’ divorce or death, violence or
sexual abuse and other hardships make children to live on the streets.
Life on the streets is filled with many dangers and includes constant fear and a continuous fight for survival.
Street children in Ghana
Estimates show that there are about 30,000 - 50,000 street children living in Ghana’s capital of Accra.
- Hope for a better life in the city
- Violence and abuse
- Death of parents
In order to get by the children take on several duties. These include:
- Carrying goods across the market
- Collecting and sorting rubbish
- Cleaning streets and tidying markets
- Helping weak/disabled people
- Shining shoes
Being part of a group and having friends is very important to street children.
Gangs are on one hand a sort of family-substitution for the children, where they learn to
take on responsibility for other children. On the other hand they are subdued to the will
of elders and exposed to drugs, sexuality and violence at an early age. Often the children
sleep in groups for safety and support.
Street children long for love and affection and behave as if they were much older than t
hey actually are.
More than half of the street children in Accra have not finished primary school.
Due to a lack of hygiene disease can spread easily. A lack of education and violence oftentimes causes unwanted pregnancies. Children, who are born to a life on the streets, face a very uncertain future.
Society does not have a place for street children and government barely provides any sort of support for them.