This week as we marked the International Day of the Street Child we want to introduce you to Simon

Meet Simon

From a young age Simon’s family life was very difficult. He had been left in the care of his father who struggled with addiction, and with little hope of going to school or having enough to eat Simon took to the streets of the nearby city, Bolgatanga, northern Ghana, in an effort to make a life for himself and survive.

 

Life on the streets
Simon headed to the Bolgatanga lorry park, a local transit hub, where many street children attempt to earn a living, loading and unloading lorries for small “chop money” for food. On the day he arrived he was welcomed by a boy who helped him find a small space in front of a shop to sleep for the night and shared his food with Simon.

Simon lived and worked at the lorry park for six months however this lifestyle provides little hope for a child’s future with no education and few opportunities to break out of the cycle of poverty. A team of AfriKids outreach workers who were visiting the lorry park drew Simon’s attention to The School of Night Rabbits project and he immediately saw his opportunity to make a change.

 

The School of Night Rabbits
The project provides street children like Simon with the chance to attend evening classes in basic literacy and numeracy so they can return to formal school. The classes are a key stepping stone for these children and an opportunity to continue their education, whilst being provided with nutritious meals, somewhere to wash and access to free quality healthcare.

 

A child studying at the School of Night Rabbits

 

Simon’s future
Simon worked hard at the School of Night Rabbits turning up whenever he could and always impressing the teachers with his commitment and effort. He was clearly passionate about his education and was therefore awarded sponsorship to return to formal school and continue his learning.

This vital support gave Simon the opportunity to make something of his hardworking attitude and after completing school he went on to become the apprentice to a motor mechanic, building key trade skills which he can use in the future to provide for himself and a family.

 

Simon working as a motor mechanic

 

According to the UN there are around 150 million children across the globe living or working on the streets today.

 

AfriKids is working to support those, like Simon, that find themselves on the streets of Bolgatanga and its surrounding area. Many forced to live and work in unsafe conditions because their families live in extreme poverty and find it hard to properly provide for them.

 

Life on the streets is a childhood that no one would wish for their child – sleeping rough in unsafe areas, begging for money or partaking in dangerous activities to earn enough to feed themselves. The street children AfriKids supports rarely have access to an education or healthcare meaning they have little hope for the future.

 

This week, as millions of people speak out about the rights of street children, AfriKids will be working to help children in the Bolgatanga area to get off the streets. We offer them a safe place to sleep at the Next Generation Home, help them back into education through the School of Night Rabbits, give them access to healthcare at the AfriKids Medical Centre and resettle them with family members where possible to ensure that they’re off the streets for good.

 

AfriKids is supporting children like Simon to help them to leave their lives on the streets and have the opportunity to build a future.

 

To read more about the School of Night Rabbits have a look on our website here: http://www.afrikids.org/sonr

 

The whole team at AfriKids was very sad to hear of the passing this week of one of our founding supporters and key ambassadors, Mr Cyril Dennis, MBE.

 

Cyril has been part of the AfriKids family since the beginning, when he first funded the mechanising of the borehole to bring running water to the Sirigu Babies home in 2001, before AfriKids was even registered as a charity.

 

Cyril acted as an advisor to AfriKids in our start up years, helped find our first office in Devonshire Row and arranged for the re-branding and marketing of the charity. He was very proud of the work AfriKids does and generously introduced a number of friends to the organisation over the years. He and his friends played a major role in funding the construction of the Next Generation Home, our centre for street children in Bolgatanga, and also provided funding for core costs recognising the importance of these to underpin the charity’s growth.

 

He was particularly passionate about Mama Laadi’s Foster Home, after meeting Mama Laadi at an event he hosted with George Alagiah and Cheryl Gillian MP at the House of Commons for AfriKids in 2003. He enjoyed receiving Mama Laadi’s letters filled with news on all of the children in her home.

 

The effect of his support over the years has been truly transformational for the organisation. Cyril took AfriKids from the small, well intentioned social project it once was to a professional charity, through generous donations, facilitating key introductions and providing regular and informed advice.

 

Cyril leaves an incredible legacy at AfriKids and will remain fondly in our memories. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Cyril’s family.

 

AfriKids received an extra *£25,000* at the People’s Postcode Lottery Charity Gala!

 

We were delighted to attend the 2016 People’s Postcode Lottery Charity Gala last week in Edinburgh – an incredible evening topped off with the surprise of being awarded an extra £25,ooo to fund our life changing work!

 

We are so grateful to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery (PPL) for this extra funding, meaning they have now generously donated an amazing £250,000 to support our work with vulnerable children and families in northern Ghana. Just one  example of how this support will help to make transformational changes in the area is through the launch of AfriKids’ Futures’ Freedom programme. The aim of the project is to end child marriage and harmful attitudes in the Upper East Region by educating young people on their sexual and reproductive health and rights. This groundbreaking work has been made possible with key funding support from People’s Postcode Lottery and its players.

 

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “As People’s Postcode Lottery continues to grow, the amount that our players award to good causes continues to increase. We are very proud that our players can continue to support the development of these fantastic causes .”

 

The award of this additional funding comes at a very exciting time for the charity lottery as they mark 10 years since the first ever draw. The last 10 years have created thousands of lucky winners but have also provided vital funding for numerous charities across Great Britain and internationally. A minimum of 27.5% is awarded to charities and good causes with over £99.6 million awarded to date.

 

The Charity Gala last week, attended by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, TV presenter Fiona Philips and Dame Ellen MacArthur, was a brilliant celebration of the hard work achieved by all the charities supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery and a chance for AfriKids to show our thanks for their support of UK charities. We were particularly thrilled to see some pictures of the children we support blown up and displayed around the venue!

 

Thank you for a great night People’s Postcode Lottery!

 

City & Guilds provide funding to help empower the next generation in northern Ghana

 

The City & Guilds Group have announced their support of AfriKids, awarding the charity with a grant from their newly launched Skills Development Fund. The grant will allow AfriKids to provide 20 young women who are currently training in either teaching or nursing with mentoring support and loans to cover their training fees. This vital skills training is allowing young people in northern Ghana the opportunity to secure their own livelihoods, providing them and their families with brighter futures that are free of poverty.

 

The loan repayments that will be collected once women have finished their training will then be used to support more women with skills development, working to create a sustainable funding model in line with AfriKids’ philosophy to Listen, Empower and Sustain.

 

You can read the full City & Guilds press release here.

AfriKids to launch new project addressing child, early and forced marriage following support from People’s Postcode Lottery

 

AfriKids are delighted that People’s Postcode Lottery has today announced an award of £200,000 from players of the charity lottery  to help end child marriage and promote child rights in northern Ghana.

 

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery said: “For the last 10 years AfriKids has been providing incredibly important programmes to children and families in Ghana. We are delighted that as a result of funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery that this fantastic charity will be able to launch a major new project to further promote children’s rights in northern Ghana.”

 

Through extensive work, AfriKids has identified that early and forced marriage and harmful traditional beliefs and practices like female genital mutilation (FGM) are serious issues affecting the health and futures of girls across rural northern Ghana. The support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery will help to launch a major new project to address this, providing sex education, child marriage interventions, youth clubs with family planning services and community education on the rights of young people.

 

AfriKids CEO, Amy Parker said: “Lack of education, opportunity and the pressure to marry young and produce children is holding girls back in Ghana’s Upper East Region and putting them at great risk. This is a place where half of all girls are married before 18 and a woman dies for every 125 babies born, so big change is needed and fast. The support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery will enable us to act now, putting an end to child marriage in the poorest communities while supporting them to create better futures for everyone in ways that will continue for generations without the need for ongoing handouts.”

 

http://www.postcodelottery.co.uk/AboutUs/News/PostcodeNews/SupportingVulnerableChildren.htm