There is a general concern over the increasing rate of streetism among children in the country.
Successive governments as well as non-governmental organizations have tried and will continue to sensitize parents on the dangers of streetism and how they can collectively end it in the country.
But as policymakers and stakeholders continue to hold discussions on the best methods that can end streetism, the act perversely has found its ways into the Upper East Region.
Children, both females and males between the ages of seven and fifteen are now found on the streets of Bolgatanga begging for food and money.
In an interaction with some of these children, they explained that their parents brought them to the regional capital to study Quran, but out of hunger and starvation, they resorted to begging on the streets to survive.
Abdul Kareem, 8yrs, said though he dislikes begging, the only way for him to get food was by being on the street.
With sunken eyes hoping to get tipped for any amount; Kareem said he does not know whether he will even get food to eat for the day as he was yet to receive anything from “good Samaritan.”
“Yes, I will like to quit but I do not know what will happen to me if I do”, Musah Seidu another 12yrs said.
Majority of these children were also spotted at the main lorry station in Bolgatanga.
For them, they were not to study the Quran; but to work and earn income to support their parents.
Some of them, who declined to speak on tape, said they see life to be a hustle and do not care about their health conditions, hence preferred to sleep in the open or empty vehicles to achieve their ultimate goal.
One Thomas Ayine who seems so happy about being in the business center said, “Yes, I may look small, but I’m the one who is supporting my parents, so if I say I will not work or beg for alms, where will they get to feed.”
Speaking to the Upper East Regional Acting Director of the Department of Children, Georgina Aberese-Ako, she explained that her department though was not relaxed in handling the situation, it needs support from other stakeholders.
According to Mrs. Aberese-Ako, the act of children roaming on the streets begging for alms was gradually gaining its notoriety and if care is not taken by stakeholders especially religious bodies the region will soon become a hotspot.
She however added that her outfit was challenged with staffing as she was the only one supervising the region.
“To say the department has challenges is an understatement; I’m the only person supervising the whole region. I do not have a car to go round, you can imagine the difficulties.” she expressed.
Commenting on the subject, the National Secretary of the Tijaniyya Muslim Council of Ghana, Sheikh Mallam Abdallah Al Azhar said children begging for alms was not part of Islamic teachings; stressing those children engage in the act out of ignorance.
He added that his outfit at the regional level is taking steps to put an end to the practice among muslim children.
Stakeholders and policymakers will continue to hold discussions on how to properly bring to an end Streetism, parents ought to work hard and stop encouraging their children to assist them to provide for their younger ones.