We use literacy and meals as tools to connect with children and youth living in the margins of Accra. Our plan is to understand their struggles and provide opportunities for them to thrive and be happy.
Student leaders facilitate our weekly programs to engage their passions and to understand local issues of social justice. We equip them to be active agents of change in their local communities.
According to the Ghana’s Department of Social Welfare, there are over 65,000 street children in Accra. This number does not include thousands of children and youth who are vulnerable and disadvantaged in our slum settlements and rural communities. In August 2015, FOA Founder and President, TK Mawuli Azaglo had a conversation with one child living in Accra’s Airport City to understand the lived realities of the growing number of young people working and sleeping on the sidewalks. These children are victims of family abandonment, poverty, violence and mistreatment. Exposed to sexual exploitation, they are often at risk to sexually transmitted diseases and infections. They currently lack access to healthcare, shelter, clothing, healthy meals and positive adult influences. These conversations revealed a big systemic gap and inspired the need for action to restore basic human dignity. Our programs cater for children and youth living in the streets and an urban slum in the Airport City area.
StreetSmart takes place every Saturday afternoon from 4-6pm. At this program, our street kids, volunteers, and leaders gather on the sidewalk of Casely Hayford Road to read, write, draw and work basic math problems. StreetSmart is an opportunity for our kids to utilize creative forms of agency to define and represent who they are.
Many of our FOA children express the desire to go to school but lack the resources and enabling environment to do so. Our FOA leaders adapt the Ghana Educational Services curriculum to teach our FOA children.
We use this program to connect with our FOA children but also to assess their commitment and potential to succeed in a formal school setting. We have enrolled two children in Smile Child Academy and we are planning to enrol more in the near future.
Mi Dunu – Mi Dunu means “Let’s eat!” in the Ghanaian language of Ewe. Mi dunu takes place every Saturday evening from 7-9pm. At this program, our street kids, volunteers, and leaders gather on the sidewalk of Casely Hayford Road to eat, talk and play.
Proper nutrition is a luxury for our kids, so we show up every weekend with substantial meals and drinks for every kid that comes. As of January 2017, well over one hundred children, teenagers, leaders and volunteers join us every weekend.
This program allows us to have deeper conversations and get to know more about the realities of our FOA children. We share experiences and offer our friendship to foster a sense of belongingness.
In October 2015, our programs started with four children on the airport by-pass road. We formed small circles on the sidewalk to read, play and eat. We had enough room to move around without getting in the way of fast moving cars. With over 100 children and youth participating in our programs currently, it has become dangerous as we spill over to a busy road. It has also become increasingly difficult to control our environments to ensure our programs are effective and safe.
We would like to find a place within Accra to use as a community center so we can further develop and expand our current programs. It will be a meeting place where street kids, leaders and volunteers can hang out, get to know each other and participate in programs. It will also provide the consistency of a safe space for kids to come to for refuge, counseling, support, and healthcare.
If you are inspired by our work, please give to make this dream a reality.