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.
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.
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.
We have concluded another year (2019) of working with street children. Our researches, interventions and interactions have given us a lot of knowledge about street children. The year 2019 has become a very historical year because we have come to a series of conclusions which could be very helpful for future interventions with street children in Ghana.Conclusion 1. Not one “uniform” group of street children exist, but there are several groups. This means, when talking about street children you have to mention one particular group That you are referring to. The categories are:a. Migrant children are those who come from the rural areas of Ghana. They are alone or with friends and often do not have any accommodation. They sleep in the streets. Some have a poor educational background.b. Urban poor children are those who live with the parents or with single parent/their mother in a “kind of a house”. These children have a “home” to go to in the evening. Some have obtained some level of education and are partially protected by their parents.c. Future generations of street children. These children live often with their mothers in the streets. The mother and father are street children or street young adults. These children have a very poor educational background. They often do not know how to behave and have no interest in education. They do not understand the word future but live from day to day.When preparing interventions for these three groups, the interventions have to be completely different in design (structure) to be able to obtain good results.Conclusion 2. The main reason why children of group one and three are in the street is the break down of families. Although these families and individual children are poor, it is not the main reason why they are in the street. Neglect, indifference, and lack of care are the main reasons. Therefore; it is a social need which should be addressed as such.
Conclusion 3. It was encouraging to know that the NGOs were able to exchange ideas about street children with Government officials. Both groups were trying to find solutions for the many children who are in the streets. However, we are yet to see the desired results but there is hope that this dialogue continues. Neither the NGOs and the Government can solve this huge problem alone. It needs a collective effort.
Government has indeed the duty to protect the children while in the street but both parties have to concentrate on the families to find solutions.
We are of the opinion that churches, associations, societies could be instrumental to assist 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.
Society should never accept that children live and work in the streets. They do not belong there but they should living in a family setting.
There are groups and individuals who try to glorify this phenomenon, but we are of the opinion that this is completely wrong.
All these findings are published in the booklet “The Ghanaian street-child” which can be found on this website.
Bro. Jos van Dinther (Director CAS)
In April 2020, we decided to continue with the skill training at Hopeland center as well as in the House of Refuge.
All anti corona virus rules should be observed.
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.
Children come all regions from Ghana. Above you see the breakdown from children who visited CAS in 2018
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.
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.
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 email@example.com
MRS. EUNICE ADAMS Re-tired Officer
MR. PRINCE LAMPTEY Assistant Director Department of Social Welfare firstname.lastname@example.org
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.