Welcome to the month of April, the month that Christians or followers of Christ all over the world, observe the crucifixion and resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ.
I love Easter because God demonstrated His love for mankind by giving His only begotten son to die and to redeem us from sin and it’s punishment as captured in John 3:16.
So, we can learn by also giving out of love. Let’s put our love into action this month of April by spending a little of our time thinking about the less fortunate children in our societies and how we can be a blessing to them.
Why children? The answer is simple. This foundation has a special interest in children. But if you want to extend your thoughts to include all other less fortunate people in our communities, that will be awesome. The bible mentions in Proverbs 19:17 that “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.”
Any action that puts a big smile on the face of a needy child can mean so much to both that child and the giver. And we should not limit our love for the needy to just the month of April. It will just be nice to continue to keep the smile on the faces of such children all year round.
According to a UNICEF study, there are more than 200 million street children in the world with an estimated 153 million orphaned children worldwide.
Now let’s shift attention to Ghana where our foundation currently works. I don’t know who to blame for the children on our streets or at the orphanages. In fact, will anybody even own up to it? My agenda is not to discuss who to blame or who not to blame. What I know, is those who have made homes for some of the orphans and needy children should be commended.
Truth is, some of the children we call orphans have been abandoned by their own parents.
In common usage, an orphan is a child who has lost both parents to death. But that is not the case for every orphan in Ghana. I am told the parents of some of these orphans intentionally left them at the doors of the orphanages when they were still babies. Reasons for the irresponsible actions include poverty, divorce, abuse, fear, and even traditional beliefs.
And what about the many children surviving on the streets? Such children are exposed to the vagaries of the weather and all manner of criminals.
I still remember the sound bite from a story I did on the street child back in 2011 for GTV. A boy about the age of seven, and loitering at Circle now called Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, told me he was on the street because in his own words, ” My dad says he won’t marry my mum again.” He also told me, that he was out on the street to get some food and money for his ailing mother and siblings.
As sad as this boy’s story may be, it is about the same for many of the children on our streets. Figures on streets in Ghana are always disturbing with the capital Accra alone, estimated to host more than 90,000 street children.
The “fortunate few” who are being catered for at the various orphanages usually depend on the benevolence of philanthropists, organizations, churches, and individuals with little or sometimes no support from the government. UNICEF reports that more than 4,000 children in Ghana live in residential homes, often labeled as ‘orphanages’.
Apart from food, toiletries used clothing, and shoes that are usually presented to the orphanages, the children also need basic amenities like potable water, educational materials, clean rooms, and beds to sleep on.
We can’t be everywhere every time. Certainly, we cant solve the problem of streetism in a day nor can we meet all the needs of orphans at once.
But you and I can still make a difference, even if it is one child at a time. Our little contribution can put a big smile on the face of an orphan, a needy, or a street child. That smile on the face of a child can be our greatest gift. Happy Easter!