Orphans and Vulnerable Children Project
One very important issue of concern about the HIV/AIDS pandemic is the issue of Children Orphaned by HIV/AIDS. They are vulnerable because their families are often poor and susceptible to traffickers mostly intermediaries promising a better life for the children and/or additional revenue for the family. Children are trafficked within Ghana for forced labor in lake and ocean fishing, agriculture, mines, quarries, and as porters, street hawkers and truck pushers. Girls, in particular, are trafficked for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. Internal trafficking within Ghana is increasing significantly. Majority of victims are trafficked from Northern Ghana to Accra, a distance of over 785km and hired as porters, house-helps, sex workers and chop bar attendants.
Children are also vulnerable because they may be kept out of school if they are at home to care for sick family members or to work in the field at the expense of their education. They may drop out of school if family cannot afford to provide the basic school supplies due to reduced household incomes as a result of AIDS death and/or repeated illnesses. Due to the pervasive nature of stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, it is not known how many children have been orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS. It is however anecdotal figures have it that there are more than 300,000 orphans in the country.
The serious challenge of the alarming growth in the numbers of children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS, and the need for effective strategies to substantially respond, therefore remains an unacknowledged emergency. Responses in the form of provision of care and support for vulnerable children tend to be reactive, rather than proactive and continues to remain inadequate .To ensure that HIV/AIDS orphans do not suffer further discrimination this programme focuses on the most vulnerable children and not only HIV/AIDS orphans. The goal is to contribute to the survival and development of children through the provision among others of:
- Educational, Psychosocial, Basic health, Skills training and economic Livelihood opportunities as tools for sustainable development. Provision of teaching , learning and funding support for education and skills training for Orphans and Vulnerable children;
- In schools and Out schools life skills activities;
- Confidence building through appropriate schemes to overcome barriers to learning, employment and training.
This we do by defining community specific vulnerabilities and locally determined strategies in line with the national plan of action for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Ghana by the Department of Social Welfare(June 2010-2012).
We also work in partnership with local government and other stakeholders for the progressive reduction of the worst forms of child labor including the female head pottering (kayayee) phenomena in urban cities and the sending communities.