AKWAABA CAS! WELCOME TO CAS!!
Catholic Action for Street children (CAS) is a local Non Governmental Organization (N.G.O.) established in 1992 to provide support to children living on the street of Accra, Ashaiman and Tema Metropolis.
The mandate was to find out who street children are, where they come from and what could be done to help them. The short term goal is to help street children by returning their dignity to develop into respectful citizens of the society. The long term goal is to educate the children in such a way that they can find suitable employment to build up their future lives.
CAS consists of five (5) departments: The House of Refuge, Demonstration, Short and long Sponsorship, Hopeland. CAS also carries out fieldwork in the various social welfare districts of Greater Accra. Street children are made to go through all the programs and activities organized by each department as part of their preparation to leave the street. However, CAS has conducted a lot of research into the background of street children and majority shows that the problem of street children is a very complex one and cannot be solved overnight. CAS' main goal is to make children functional literates.
After many years of working, CAS has decided to continue to improve programs and activities that target the need and interest of street children in Ghana. In particular the fieldwork program which includes street corner education. By so doing many street children can be reached.
Catholic Action for Street children(CAS) is a Ghanaian charity which advises and educate children from the street in Accra-Ghana.
Three different kind of children can be found on the streets:
1. Children who have migrated from the rural areas of the country to the city.
2. Children who are born on the streets. (second and third generation children).
3. Urban poor children. Children of poor families who are in the streets.
We have uploaded a video on youtube - see the link on your right
This video shows all the activities of CAS.
CAS has published the 2nd edition of the booklet:
"The Ghanaian street child". Please find the pdf file on the right.
In July 2020, we at CAS, are continuing working with street children at the House of Refuge in Lartebiokorshie-Accra and at Hopeland center at Adjei Kojo-Sun city. Because of the pandemic, we have decided to concentrate on those who were already in training and in addition, pay more attention to the urban poor street children category. The field operations have come to a stand still and will only resume when the workers can safely be with the children in the streets.
As mentioned before there is not one “uniform” group of street children, but there are several groups. This means, when talking about street children you have to mention the particular group you are referring to. The categories are:
Government has indeed the duty to protect all children while in the street but both parties the government agencies as well as the NGOs have to concentrate on the families to find solutions.
We are of the opinion that churches, associations, societies could be instrumental to assist these families who are in difficulties. Churches could pay more attention to those who are divorced as well as support single mothers, for instance.
Churches can also introduce after marriage counseling as a way of assisting newly married couples to understand marriage.
They could open youth centers where all youth of various denomination are welcome. Schools of the diocese could allow children of poor families to enter and give them free education.
However, there seems to be not much hope for all the children and young adults already in the streets. Solutions can only be found on individual bases. It appears there are no solutions for the main group of street children. Let us not romanticize the street children problems too much. There are various children in the street who have, because of the situation, become very difficult individuals who need to be reformed before they could benefit from training. There are groups and individuals who try to glorify this phenomenon, but we are of the opinion that this is completely wrong.
Society should never accept as a stand and practice that children live and work in the streets. They do not belong there but they should be living in a family setting.
However, CAS is ready to train any child in a skill or trade provided they want to help themselves. There are many options available at CAS.
Bro. Jos van Dinther -Director CAS
Skills a child can learn.
Carving. The child learn to work with wood and other basic materials and tools. This technique is the basis of all woodworking skills and trades. The apprentice could continue learning skills and become a furniture maker, coffin or door-maker and specialize in interior decoration.
Catering. This skill has a great potential, because of the tourist industry which is growing in Ghana. The apprentice, ( a Girls or a Boy) learns various skills in making pastries, cookies, cakes. Also, learns about hygiene, baking, cooking, preparing and presenting food. There are several areas in which the apprentice can specialize.
Decoration: The apprentice learns to work with flowers (natural or artificial), work with ribbons and balloons as well as cloth. The decorator is asked to prepare for special celebrations, such as birthdays, marriages as well as funerals. This skill in combination with catering skills have a great future.
Hairdressing or Barber. Girls learn hairdressing and boys learn to be Barbers. These skills are always needed in the creative industry. The girls can in addition learn manicure and pedicure or makeup skills. Many girls often opt for these skills because they make a lot of quick money the customer has to pay before a work will be done.
Sewing, Tailoring and Fashion design. In order to be successful in this work, the apprentice should develop artistic skills and constantly think of other designs which are liked by the customers. They should learn how to draw, measure and cut cloth and other fabrics.
Bead design: The same artistic skills are needed when working with beads and other materials to make jewelry. At first the apprentice works with plastic beads and other materials such as copper, tin, leather and glass. In combination with general handicraft, the successful bead designer has always work to do.
Which other skills could CAS offer?
Photography and photoshop, repair of electronic equipment, watch and mobile-phone repairs, Book binding and web designs.
Skills CAS does not offer could be learnt in existing public workshops and studios. However, to be master of the English language is needed which in many cases is a real obstacle for instructors and apprentice.
Here is a description the above mentioned category of children in detail.
URBAN POOR CHILDREN.
Identifies with a community not necessarily born or brought up there or stay permanent in the community.
A victim of a broken home.
From a poor family.
Have periodic contact with the parents or any member of the family.
Have some sort of a regular “home” to identify with.
Establish that both parents are not necessarily in the street.
Urban poor child should not necessarily be in school or vice versa.
The parents have come to the city to have more job opportunities.
Job opportunities are scarce and at times the child is asked to assist in earning an income for the family. They sell minor items such as polythene bags, sweets, telephone credit etc.
These children are not attending school. In the past they could say, “ I am going to the afternoon shift or morning shift but that system has been abolished in Ghana. These children are typical “out of school” children.
Is a child coming from outside Accra to the city and its periphery to look for greener pastures, work and find decent livelihood. Her/his parents are in the rural area.
The reasons of leaving their families are numerous. Very often they leave their family because the family has fallen apart (broken families).
Some of them have attended school in the past and with a little support they can continue their education.
Those born in the street. 2nd generation children.
They are children of street children or street parents in street situation (either the mother, the father or both).
A child born through migrant parents who are living and working in the street.
They do not belong to any tribe and therefore do not learn any cultural values except that of the street.
Very often do not know their father.
A second generation child could also be a victim of two urban poor children who periodically finds themselves in street situation.
This generation of children often have parent(s) often young mothers and fathers, who have been street children themselves. These children grow up in small areas where they are born or where their mother sells items or conducts other business. These mothers do not have much time to bring up their children properly. As a result, these children do not know how to take care of themselves. They do not take their baths or keep their clothing clean because they have to pay for the water and soap but money is not available. This group of children also lacks the ability to think of the future. The word education is foreign to them. They have very little imagination about live and the world as a whole.
Children come all regions from Ghana. Above you see the breakdown from children who visited CAS in 2018
The Headcount of street children:
This Headcount shows that there is a constant increase in street children living and working in the streets of Accra. We have not conducted any headcount in other major towns, but this headcount proves already that there is a major problem at hand. The headcount of 1996 was conducted together with workers of S.AID. In total 30 workers were assigned to particular areas in town for a period of 3 weeks. This method proved to be very accurate. In July 1999, we started the continuous headcount. Fieldworkers who meet “new” children present a small invitation card to the child. These cards are only given to street children and not to “urban poor” children. In January 2000, 17181 were given out. The successive years show an increase of 200-1000 children a year.
A STREET CHILD.
I DON’T HAVE A MOTHER WHOM I KNOW,
I DON’T HAVE A PLACE WHICH I CAN CALL MY OWN,
NOBODY CARES FOR ME WHETHER I LIVE OR DIE,
A STREET CHILD AM I.
YOU SAY THAT I AM DIRTY AND NOT COMBED,
NOT GOOD TO BE SEEN,
YOU SAY THAT I AM MEAN AND WILD WITH A VIOLENT LOOK.
BUT I HAD TO FIGHT TO LIVE I HAVE TO BE STRONG TO BE ALIVE.
I BECOME WET TO THE SKIN IN THE HEAVY RAINS,
I SLEEP WHEN I CAN ON THE STREET OR UNDER A MARKET TABLE.
I EAT WHAT THEY THROW AWAY FROM THE SHOP STALLS OR I HAVE TO EAT FROM THE TRASH BIN.
THE POLICE CHASE ME WITH THEIR BRUTAL FORCE AND LANGUAGE, HEAVY PUNCHES OR KICKS
AT BUS STATIONS OR LORRY STATIONS YOU CAN FIND ME.
BUT YOU WILL REALLY SEE ME WHEN YOU CARE FOR ME.
I DON’T HAVE A MOTHER WHOM I KNOW,
I DON’T HAVE A PLACE WHICH I CAN CALL MY OWN,
NOBODY CARES FOR ME WHETHER I LIVE OR DIE,A STREET CHILD AM I.
Continue reading in the 2nd edition of the Ghanaian street child- you find it above.
The 2008 headcount was organised jointly by the DSW and the NGOs.
BOARD OF ADVISORS of CAS-2017
H MR. GEORGE AFUM ANSAH Deputy Director CAS
MS. VIDA AMOAKO Director S.AID
FR. JOHN NEUMANN Financial Administrator Achdiocese of Accra
MS. ROSEMARY BAAH Matron CAS
BRO. JOS VAN DINTHER Director CAS
SR. CYNTHIA MWAAKPAAR Superior Centre of Hope firstname.lastname@example.org
MRS. EUNICE ADAMS Re-tired Officer
MR. PRINCE LAMPTEY Assistant Director Department of Social Welfare email@example.com
Mr. SETH APPEAGYEI Department of Social Welfare
• CAS MISSION:
1.To assist children, below the age of 18 years, who are in the streets and choose to be educated.
2.To create general awareness through tertiary students on the plight of out of school youth..
• CAS OBJECTIVES:
•To counsel the children so as to enable them decide what they want to do with their lives.
•To show love and concern to the children and create a safe haven in a house(s)of Refuge and assist those children who wish to be re-united with their families.
•To co-operate with all interested organizations and groups to create the awareness about out- of school youth.
•To assist in health care and health education for the children.
•To promote educational (formal and non-formal) opportunities and job opportunities for the children to improve their skills and to help find jobs for them.
• CAS GOAL:
To protect and improve the rights and lives of out of school children. The short-term goal is to help the children by returning their dignity to develop into respectful citizens of the society.
The long-term goal is to educate the children in such a manner that they can find suitable jobs or occupations to build up their future lives.