The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has faulted successive governments and society in general for doing little to better the life of children.
He said as a people, decisions, policies, laws and infrastructures must be geared towards improving the conditions in which the future leaders of society developed.
“I see this as an existential issue, for which very little has been done by the various governments that we have had in this country,” the Speaker said.
Mr Bagbin made this observation on the occasion of his 65th birthday celebration with the Catholic Action for Street Children in Ashaiman on Saturday.
As a signatory to the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child, it is imperative to guarantee the right of the child to a name, parentage, play, health, education, shelter, food and many others, he noted.
It was in this regard that he said the Ghana National Commission on Children (GNCC) was set up to help guarantee these rights “but as usual, it has been more of lip-service than practical measures to protect and help develop the child as we pledged as a country.
“We must remember that the time we have lost in placing the child at the centre of all that we do will never come back. Meanwhile, the child can ill-afford to wait for us to get our acts together; they might have wasted away by the time we are ready.
“I am, indeed, one of the political leaders of this country, but I dare say that there is so much we need to do as leaders, as a government and as a country, to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich; between the deprived and marginalised and the affluent.
“The gap is so yawning and the efforts at mitigating the situation are so few and far between; that is my worry, and I believe the worry of many others with conscience.”
As someone who was brought up from a very humble background and having seen deprivation and poor living conditions for most children in the “holy village of Sombo in the Upper West Region,” Mr Bagbin said he has grown up to be conscious of what it means to be needy, and “I therefore, at every opportunity, do what I can to ease the plight of the deprived in society by giving and sharing”.
He encouraged children under the initiative to never give up and take advantage of the opportunities that the project offered.
Director of the facility, Rev. Brother CosmasKanmwaa, expressed his “profound gratitude” to the Speaker for the honour of celebrating his birthday with them.
“This generosity is because you have the poor at heart. We are profoundly grateful.”
Rev.Fr Kanmwaa described the visit as the biggest event of “our lives for the past ten years”.
As part of the visit, the Speaker donated eight jerry cans of frytol, 20 bags of rice, two bags of maize and sugar, three bags of gari, a bag of beans, cartons of soft drinks, biscuits, 50 bags of sachet water, 20 packs of bottled water, toiletries, and detergents.
FROM JULIUS YAO PETETSI, ASHAIMAN