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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Abolish orphanages – NGO urges government

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Orphanaid Africa, a non-government organization (NGO) that sponsors families to care for orphans instead of taking them to orphanages, is calling on government to abolish orphanages in Ghana.
Awo Boatemaa Aboagye-Dankwa is the Head of Family Support Services at Orphanaid and she tells Asempa News orphanages are foreign to Ghanaian culture and even the West have abolished them because they have proven to be ineffective, so there is no reason for Ghana to keep orphanages.
This call comes in the wake of grave abuses and crimes against children in three orphanages in Ghana within the space of about a year.
Peace and Love Orphanage was rocked by child to child abuse due to adult negligence; massive and chilling child abuses by caregivers at Osu Children’s Home were caught on tape a few months back, and the latest is child trafficking at Hohoe Christian Orphanage.
Awo Aboagye-Dankwa said it is time Ghana looks for alternatives to orphanages because they are not helping.
“Besides the evidence of abuse and criminal activities in orphanages, they also detach children from society and make them lose their self confidence when they become adults,” she said.
She pointed out that research carried out by the Department of Social Welfare in 2009 indicated that up to 90 per cent of children in orphanage are not real orphans but rather children of poor parents who cannot afford to pay for the education of their ward.
Awo Aboagye-Dankwa said Orphanaid Africa has made proposals to government on alternative ways of providing orphans with proper and holistic care and upbringing in a way that will not detach them from their families and communities.
“Instead of orphanages, government can create foster homes, children residential homes, temporary placements and transit points for orphans to be restored to their extended families or to foster families like Orphanaid has been doing over the past three years,” she said.
Awo said so far Orphanaid had resettled 23 real orphans into their original communities and are working with a total of 48 families to provide support for more orphans all the way to the university level.
She said Orphanaid works with the families to provide a care plan for each child, adding “we provide all the funding for their education, health insurance and care, accommodation for parents and child and sometimes we pay families to care for the children.”
Asempa News also managed to reach Miss Comfort Obeng, a Coordinator at Orphanaid’s foster home and she said, unlike in orphanages, the families live with the children like their own and in separate apartments.
She therefore urged government to consider adopting the Orphanaid example on a large scale.
Story by: Samuel Nii Narku Dowuona/Asempa News/Ghana

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