Homeless boy’s plea: Welfare department to save child and get mom psychiatric help
The Social Services Department of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has announced that it will rescue little Ebenezer Opambuor, a 10-year-old homeless child whose story was told on Joy News.
Born and raised in the border town of Sampa, somewhere in the Bono region, Ebenezer was excited about the prospects of visiting Accra for the first time.
But he will be on his own soon after arriving with his mother, who now suffers from a mental disability. Until the story was told by Joy News, Ebenezer roamed the streets of Accra by day and joined other squatters to sleep under the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange Bridge at night.
But it’s about to end. The head of foster care in the welfare department, Samuel Anaglate, told Joy News that the department’s attention was drawn to the situation after the story was released.
He added, “As we speak, agents from the department are currently on the ground trying to save him. We have also informed the mental hospital in Accra, and they will come and get the lady to see if we can treat her condition ”.
Ebenezer’s story erupted when city authorities stormed the Kwame Nkrumah interchange sub-bridge to remove illegal occupants on Wednesday. By this one exercise, what he knew to be at home was also gone.
“I sleep under the ceiling. My mom brought me from Sampa North to the Bono area. But now I don’t go to school, ”Ebenezer said.
Unlike the other squatters, Ebenezer was younger and it was not easy to miss him. So why was he under the bridge on a Wednesday morning and not at school?
I will find out later that his mother has a mental disability, which is why little Ebenezer was left to wander the perilous streets of Accra alone.
“I’m afraid a car will hit me, but my family is in Sampa North. Rasta therefore gave 1 cedi to buy food, ”he explained.
The closest thing to a family that Ebenezer knows in Accra is ‘Rasta’.
The 27-year-old himself, also homeless, is busy giving Eben 1 Ghanaian cedi as food. But they could go days without adequate food.
Rasta explained, “Life is tough on the streets. I saw it and I was even touched. So I decided that if I got the money I would give it 1 or 2. I try to keep him close to me.
Like Eben, hundreds of children roam the streets of Accra seeking the warmth and support of a society they constantly lack. For now, however, that’s all he has.
In 2017, the Ministry of Gender launched a campaign to end streetism in Ghana.
The program entitled “# Operation Get off the streets for a better life” aimed to identify people on the streets, to profile them and to integrate them with their parents, their caregivers, their families and their community in five years.
It was also to ensure that the target groups are completely rid of the streets.
Target groups included Kayayei, hawkers, child beggars, adult beggars and those hired to push people with disabilities.
The others are people with disabilities, mental health problems, families on the streets, displaced people (international migrants) and “beggar entrepreneurs”.
But four years after its launch, the threat of streetism appears to have worsened, with various civil society groups calling for increased efforts to support the agenda.