Prime News Ghana

SCEF calls for improved access to essential services for street children

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
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On the occasion of this year’s International Day for Street Children, The Street Children Empowerment Foundation (SCEF) joins civil society organisations around the world and particularly in Ghana to highlight the challenges faced by street-connected children and call on government to deepen its commitment to promoting their welfare.

The theme for the IDSC 2021 is “Access to Essential Services” with an urgent call on Governments to take action so that street children can access the services they need to reach their fullest potential.

This theme is particularly significant, given the impact of COVID-19 on the vulnerable in society, especially street-connected children and their families as revealed by SCEF’s COVID-19 impact survey titled - Impact of COVID-19 on the livelihoods of street-connected families “Making essential services such as healthcare, quality education among others accessible to street-connected children is now more important than ever, giving the impact of COVID-19. We need to remember that, none of us and our children are safe until every street child is safe’’, Paul Semeh, the Executive Director of SCEF noted.

Whilst recognising the efforts by government to build an inclusive and safe society for all children, SCEF wishes to highlight three priority areas that will enhance the welfare of children at various stages such as life before the streets, live on streets and life after they exit the streets. These areas are:

• All children currently living within households, families and communities must have access to friendship and playtime (just being children); holistic wellbeing & development, education & mental health needs, healthy and positive relationships, loving and caring family, food, healthcare, safe sleeping environments, positive and meaningful faith experiences, protection from abuse and violence. Access to these will help reduce the desire to move to the streets.

• In the unfortunate event that they end up on the streets as thousands of them have, they are still entitled to access essential services such as skills training and family reunification, food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, counselling, safe spaces to express themselves, to be heard, to play among others.

• Upon successful exit from the streets, we advocate that children will still have access to education and skills training, opportunities for family reunification and reintegration education on child and human rights, food, water, healthcare, safe accommodation, safe spaces - understanding and accepting street residents for who they are and empowering them.

It is the hope of SCEF that, as Ghana strives to leave no one behind in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, government will continue to actively work towards upholding the rights of street-connected children in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the 1992 Constitution of the republic of Ghana.

Street Children Empowerment Foundation (SCEF) is a non-profit organisation that is committed to transforming the lives of street-connected children by rescuing, rehabilitating and reintegrating them.