For the past 21 years I have witnessed the impressive development of hundreds of street-connected children into responsible, goal-oriented, engaged young adults. It is amazing how the children have grabbed the opportunities provided to them and have gone on to become wonderful Ghanaian citizens who are able to manage not only their own responsibilities, but provide better opportunities for their families, friends and communities.
In the last two decades that Chance for Children has been supporting street-connected children and families, the same passion, values and principles have been the focus of our work and remain at the heart of everything we do.
It has been a compelling and fulfilling journey, full of achievements and disappointments, successes and failures. From the first hut-home in La to today’s drop-in centre, homes, branches in Kumasi and Tamale we still remember our initial feeling of overwhelming happiness when we welcomed in the first children.
Over the years, we have come to understand that living on the streets is a demanding daily struggle with many different challenges, requiring creativity and constant adaptation. Some of the children are too vulnerable to survive alone, others develop resilient and exceptionally strong personalities. They are not a homogenous group, each child is unique and their individual circumstances complex. Their experiences, needs and stories vary, and must be addressed differently. Thus, our approach must be tailored to the individual. As the situation for street-connected children changes often, our approach must also be constantly altered and flexible. We have learnt, however, that each child must also be ready and willing to accept these opportunities presented to them. Children cannot be pushed but only offered the opportunity and our support.
We are constantly learning and striving to find the best solutions and programs. The well-being of children remains at the heart of what we do. Recently, to support these efforts, we have initiated a prevention and reunification with family program. The coming year, we will expand our vocational training by offering a close support of the apprentice and the trainers in the companies to further strengthen the children’s prospects of leading a stable and valuable life through gaining a great vocational and technical training.
Although we are growing, we continue to prioritize the individual approach. We remain the biggest advocate for street-connected children and support them in shaping the best possible future for themselves and their families.
We cannot do this on our own, and what we have achieved to date, and will continue to achieve is also thanks to the support from so many individuals, organizations, foundations and the Government over the last 20 years.