The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection has been asked of its measures to rid the streets of children beggers.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Efigya Sekyere East, Mad. Mavis Nkansah-Boadu who asked the question on the floor of Parliament expressed worry over the high rise of children been used as beggers on the streets of Accra and its environs.
Therefore, she believes it is time for the Gender, Children & Protection Mimistry to liaise with the relevant agencies and institutions such as the National Security to safeguard the lives and future of these children beggers on our various streets in the country.
Responding to the Member of Parliament (MP) for Efigya Sekyere, Mad. Mavis Nkansah-Boadu on the floor of Parliament, The Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister, Mad. Cynthia Morrison indicated that, children begging on the streets has become a national security issue in Ghana.
Therefore there is an urgent need to put measures in place curb the children begging on the streets.
“We have substantial numbers living and begging on the streets: some of these children aid Persons with Disability to do the begging while others are used by their parents and other family members”, she acknowledged.
To address the issue, the Ministry, she explained has since 2017 initiated a programme dubbed ‘Operation Get off the streets’, which reintegrate them with their families and assist those of school going age to go back to school, while others opt to learn vocational skills through attachment as apprentices in their trade of choice.
“In doing this, the Ministry collaborates with the Office of the National Security where these Child beggers and other street persons are taken off from our ceremonial streets right from the National Theater through 37 Military Hospital, Opeibea, Airport to the Ghana Standard Authority areas” the Minister indicated.
She disclosed that, these children were sent to the social welfare Centre in Madina where some were reintegrated back to their families, others opted to learn a trade while some were sent to the normal school.
“Since 2008, when I took over office as the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, I personally took part in the rescue of children from the streets at Kwame Nkrumah Circle through to Kaneshie, with the support of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) task force” the Minister stressed.
“Most of the rescued children were Nigeriens who were used by their parents as the frontline beggars; they have since been sent to the Nigerien Embassy and repatriated to their homeland”.
“In addition, at the midnight of 23rd December 2018, I led a team to rescue children on the streets around the Madina Mall and Opeibea areas who were sent to a social welfare shelter at Madina.
With regards to data, she revealed that, over 4809 children of the streets in Accra have been collected with twenty-one (21) of them being nationals of Niger and have been repatriated to their home country.
“The unfortunate challenge is that, some of these children continue to reappear on our streets, however, together with the Office of National Security, we are engaging with more stakeholders to develop and implement a more sustainable strategy to permanently address the issue”, she emphasized.
With adequate funding, the Minister indicated that, the Ministry will ensure that every citizen has improved access to quality social services and livelihood activities to reflect international and national obligations such as the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), most importantly Goals 1, 2 and 5.
“It is important to continue to strengthen the social welfare programs that provide preventive and responsive child protection services and please permit me to state that The Akufo Addo led government will continue to place emphasis on the implementation of strategies and programs to reduce poverty and vulnerability”, she added.
“A caring and inclusive society does not tolerate marginalization and exclusive of poor and vulnerable groups which include children begging on the streets”.
Source: www.thenewindependentonline.com/ Delali Gavor/ Parliament