Work on the streets
Most of the children and young adults at Chance for
Children originate from the districts La, Osu and especially James Town
(Kokomba Market) in Accra. The social workers leave at
four in the morning on two days each week to find children sleeping
on the tables, before they are forced to leave by merchants or awakened
by traffic noises.
They stay close to them, observe them and check out the
situation carefully. Many times the purpose is solely to be present, to
watch, to study groups in order to find out or who is hanging out with
whom. Sometimes the observers are being addressed by one of the children.
Otherwise they approach the children themselves. It is important to CFC
that the children feel well and that they can build up trust.
Since most of these children have never been to school, they usually
don’t speak any English but two or three local languages instead – which is one of
the reasons why it is vital that natives initiate this first step of meeting the
child in its environment.
Once the social workers will have met
and talked with a child for several weeks, they invite him/her to the
Drop-In Centre. This is where the child can get in contact with other
youths, play, relax, eat, shower, talk to a social worker... and build
up more trust. That way the social workers can try to get answers to the
following questions: Does this child require urgent help or does it live
on the streets only temporarily? What is his/her family situation? Is
there a chance of reintegrating the child into his/her original environment?
Should it be support on the streets at first or is it ready to take
a next step?
After additional weeks of initiating contact, the social
workers will meet with family members of the respective child to find out
more about his/her past life and also to decide what exactly can be done
to provide a more humane life to child with some sort of future perspective.
It is vital to CFC that both the child and his/her
family members are met with utmost respect. In case the family
members see a chance of reintegrating the child into the family,
this will be attempted. Should it be too late for that, both the
family members and the child are informed about who CFC is, what
we do and what kind of opportunities CFC can give. On average it
takes around six months from the first contact on the streets until
the actual conscription.