The Dilemma Of Street Children In CAPE COAST, Ghana
Saturday, January 18, 2014: 3:30 PM
HBG Convention Center, Room 001B River Level (San Antonio, TX)
* noted as presenting author
The continuous growth in the tourism industry and its influence in the socio economic development of the city of Cape Coast have the tendency to attract a lot of children into the metropolis in search of nonexistent jobs. Consequently, most of these children will end up in the streets. This study seeks to identity the general characteristics of street children in the Cape Coast Metropolis which include how they defined their own experience and identity as street children, how government officials and Non Governmental Organizations described and perceived them, and how parents of street children also viewed their children’s situation. This study uses a phenomenological experience, a method that best captures the holistic approach to identify the issues of streetism through the experiences and viewpoints of the street children themselves. Eighteen semi-structured interviews were conducted, including 12 children, an official from the Department of Social Welfare, an official from the Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly, 2 officials from Non Governmental Organizations working with street children in the Metropolis to help them get education and or vocational training to become self sufficient. Two parents of street children were also interviewed. Findings suggest that most of these children left their communities to go to Cape Coast because of their families’ poor living conditions. It also became evident that the District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies are not doing enough in terms of job creations and socio economic development in the communities those children come from. In understanding the lived experiences of street children, their families, and how they are perceived by others, this study will contribute toward the understanding of factors that lead to living on the street, the support children and their families need to help children move off of the street, as well as challenges to providing these supports and services.