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‘Desist from giving money to child beggars’

THE Social Welfare Department has asked people to desist from giving money to child beggars on the street.

That, according to the department, would discourage the children from engaging in the practice and also stop their benefactors from using them as begging aides in most parts of cities across the country.

Abena Dufie Akonu-Atta of the Standard Research Monitoring and Evaluation unit of the Department noted in an interview with Ghanaian Times on the sidelines of an empowerment programme for basic school children between the ages of eight to 16 in Accra on Friday.

The programme was organised by Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) and supported by a Canadian international development organisation, Crossroads International.

It brought together 195 students and teachers from four basic schools and a girls’ club in the Greater Accra Region.

They were Kokrobite, Ledzorkuku Municipal Assembly, Domeabra and Osu Presbyterian Basic Schools and Achievers Club.

According to Mrs Akonu-Atta, some of the children who were brought from Sudan, Somalia, Niger and Nigeria mostly through child trafficking were endangering their lives as they walked and plied their trade on the streets.

She explained that the department was working with various embassies in the country to send the children back to their home countries to reintegrate with their families.

“We are also working hand-in-hand with the Ghana Immigration Service and the Ministry of the Interior to help us rid the streets of the children. The department two years ago embarked on an exercise dubbed ‘Operation get off the street for better life’ which saw a number of the children taken off the streets and taken back to their home countries while others were offered formal and vocational education and we call for support from the public and private institutions since the department cannot do this alone,” Mrs Akonu-Atta said.

Chief Superintendent Michael Akuffo Asante of the Greater Accra Regional Division of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, urged the children to boldly report any form of violence against them to their parents or the police.

He said the welfare of the child was very important no matter the situation or the nationality of the perpetrator adding that, “The police are here to protect you.

“Persons with disability especially children also have the right to be protected from any form of abuse, anyone who contravenes the right of a child will severely be dealt with according to the law,” Chief Inspector Asante cautioned.

The Regional Director at the Department of Children, Sefah Boadu advised children to desist from putting their personal information on social media and also desist from asking for lifts from strangers.

He asked children to be content with what they had and not to exchange their education and future with money or with anything that would not last.  

BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU

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