A house of refuge for street children, Accra

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One of the more depressing “signs of the times” is the ever increasing numbers of street children that roam the streets of Accra. There are two categories of such children- those who live permanently on the street, and those who have homes but come out on the streets to sell or do some kind of income generating work during the day. Presently there are about 10,000 such children in Accra, and about 50% live permanently on the street. With the high level of urbanization and its resultant rural-urban migration and high school dropout rate, this number is likely to soar within the next 4-5 years, and if not checked, Ghana will be in the same situation as America, Cairo and other countries in the worlds. The House of Refuge, operated by the Catholic Action for street Children (CAS), an organisation off the Catholic Church of the Arch diocese of Accra, was founded in 1993 as part of an answer to this study carried out by the Dept of Sociology of the University of Ghana. This study showed that many of these children needed help some quite badly. It showed that the children (most of them within the ages of 7-20 years) cannot be taken of f the street, since that will push them into violence, theft and crime; neither can they be pushed to school immediately since most of them have never been to school or have dropped out due to financial or other reasons. To this effect the House of Refuge was set up to reorient the children by providing among other things, educational (formal and non-formal) and job opportunities. Presently the Refuge operates in flat in Jamestown, Accra, where it receives an average of 60 children a day. Sometimes as many as 100 children a report at the Refuge a day This has called for immediate action to provide a permanent House of Refuge to cater for the needs of the children whose numbers keep growing day by day.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture, 1997