General News of Tuesday, 20 November 2018
Madam Cynthia Morrison, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Tuesday said some shelters are being readied for street children to be moved in from December this year.
She said it was the Ministry’s desire that every street child would have a home to enjoy their Christmas.
Madam Morrison was responding to a request made by a group of school children to her as part of activities to mark the Universal Children’s Day, in Accra. The United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) sponsored the programme.
Madam Morrison assured them that her Ministry was mandated to ensure the welfare of not only the elderly but that of all children, particularly, the disadvantaged.
The Ministry, she said, wanted to comply with all the international laws regarding the relocation of such children, to complement the Ghanaian laws also so that they did not return to the streets.
She said the Government would explore putting some of the children up for adoption, if the need be to ensure that they grew up in a home with love and care.
She explained that some of the street children were there because they had either ran away from abusive people, from hunger or were sheer delinquent.
The United Nations instituted the Day in 1954 to be celebrated annually, on November 20, for creating awareness on child rights, improving children’s welfare, as well as promoting international unity.
Some of the abuses enumerated by the children were; child marriage, child sex abuse, female genital mutilation (FGM), child labour and children in the streets.
Ronald Djanie, a Junior High Student (JHS) of the Grey Memorial Basic School, expressed discontent about how some of his fellow children were out of school and lived on the streets, while Fauzia Ashong and Mariam Abubakar prayed that child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation would end.
The Minister warned against using children to beg or hawk, stating the practices exposed them to money at an early stage, making some of them money conscious and predisposed to crime.
The Minister urged parents and guardians to bring up their children to be responsible, provide their basic needs such as education, food shelter and clothing, allow them to enjoy their childhood and treat them well because they were gifts from God.
She condemned FGM and child marriage, saying the child activists would be encouraged to become ambassadors to appeal not only to parents of the unfortunate girls but the victims as well on the need to complete school, or acquire a trade before entering into marriage.
Madam Morrison advised girls that they had the absolute right to their bodies and should not allow anyone to abuse them sexually.
Also, they should also determine when to marry and not give in to child marriage.
She asked children to obey and be proud of their parents, humble themselves, be content with what they had, and avoid negative peer pressure.