According to THE CHILDRENS’ ACT 560 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, Part I, Sub-Part I: “The best interest of the child shall be paramount in any matter concerning a child” (Welfare principle). That is, children must be allowed to enjoy their rights to the fullest. Among the rights children are supposed to enjoy is the right to education. This right cannot fully be realized without the work of social workers.
Social work, essentially, involves resolving issues in the community. It is concerned with helping individuals, families, groups and communities to enhance their individual and collective well-being. In relation to children, social work deals with rescuing children on the streets, those engaged in economic activities including life threatening jobs, and taking them to safety. These children are then reintegrated back into their families and/or school.
In schools, the work of social workers cannot be over emphasized. According to the Ghana Education Service (GES); there must be at least one social worker in every educational institution. Social workers in schools provide counseling as well as psycho-social services to children. That is to say, they are sometimes referred to as school counsellors. They have the task of addressing student issues, such as domestic matters that affect the children psychologically, emotionally, socially as well as academically at school. They achieve this by interacting with teachers, parents and people in the child’s community.
SCEF, as an NGO in Ghana, has the mission to achieve sustainable improvement in the lives of street and deprived children in the Jamestown community. They are interested in the welfare of these children and aim at allowing these children to enjoy their educational rights as well as other basic rights. SCEF’s work is guided by the three R’s: Rescue, Rehabilitate and Reintegrate.
In SCEF’s Children Involved in Hazardous Work (CHaW) initiative, street children and children from deprived homes are rescued. As part of the rehabilitation and reintegration process, based on their conditions, the children are either sent to school, a vocational institute or are trained at SCEF to get basic skills in literacy and numeracy in order to join their colleagues at school the following term.
SCEF, in partnership with some schools and private individuals, awards scholarships to children and provides learning materials for them. Through a partnership with GES, SCEF monitors the children in school as well.
Other issues that a child may suffer from, which could include sexual or physical abuse, neglect by parents, and non-maintenance (that is, failure of one or both parents of a child to fulfill his, her or their parental obligations to the child), are also resolved by SCEF. During their time at SCEF, their health needs are considered as well, and SCEF ensures that the children are in good health and enjoy their right to health.
Parents are not left out of the three R process. SCEF follows the parents’ activities and helps those who are financially challenged to support their children until they are able to stand on their feet and take full responsibility of their own children.
By applying the three R’s in their operations, SCEF is currently taking care of 121 children both school going and those who are currently not schooling. Six children have graduated from Senior High School and would be entering the tertiary institutions. As the years go by, SCEF will continue to support more of these children and allow them enjoy their basic rights. Join us!
Rebecca Yennumi Kombian
Volunteer at SCEF, 2018