Baby, a former resident at the NGH, has now been resettled with another family
Operation Bolgatanga aims to improve life for Bolgatanga's street children by giving them the care they need to create a fresh start in life.
Operation Bolgatanga began in 1997 when three members of a prayer group; Nich Kumah, Felix Amenga Etego and Rex Asanga decided to pool their resources to help improve life for Bolgatanga’s street children. They started by converting an old public latrine building into a shelter into which moved 12 boys. Operation Bolgatanga became a partner of the fledgling charity AfriKids in 2002 and by 2005 the Next Generation Home, which has become the heart of the project was established.
The situation of street children in Bolgatanga is complex. Bolgatanga is the regional capital and a major transit point on trade routes throughout West Africa. This means there is often work available carrying loads for lorry drivers or working in the ‘chop bars’ they eat at and easy access to transport onto bigger cities. Many children come just for the school holidays or if food is short at home, but others stay longer or get tempted down to bigger cities from which they find it hard to return. The Next Generation Home serves as a multifaceted transitional centre which intercepts these children and gets them back into a sustainable living situation at home.
For some children this means a very short stay, for example the project works closely with the local police to resettle children who are intercepted whilst being trafficked. Over a longer period it works with children more ingrained in street life by offering them drop in services which can range from use of the dormitories and showers to intensive counselling, education and careers advice. The more vulnerable children and those with the most complex family problems are brought into the home as full time residents where they are given intensive care and counselling and are assisted to catch up in education and into a good state of health. When they have reached this point the gradual process of resettlement with family members or foster families begins.
Operation Bolgatanga is still managed by Felix Amenga Etego along with a strong local staff team and independent management team. The project is slowly becoming financially independent of AfriKids Ghana through the development of a livestock farm, a canopies and chairs rental service and local support including fostering and gifts in kind.