The School of Night Rabbits
The goal of the School of Night Rabbits is to give children living on the streets of Bolgatanga the chance to access quality education for free on their own terms.
The project’s roots go back to 2003 when Mama Laadi, one of AfriKids’ partners and Clare Armstrong, a former fieldworker began the ‘School of Hard Knocks’, an informal regular gathering of street children where the two ladies offered health support and some basic lessons. When Mama Laadi’s FosterHome was built out of town and AfriKids Ghana became registered as an NGO in 2005 they took on the lessons, taking them out of the lorry park where the children slept into a proper school classroom and taught by volunteer local teachers. The syllabus is a mix of Ghana Education Service lessons and a wider set of social and health lessons and recreation. At the classes the children are also given the opportunity to wash and eat fruit.
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 School of Night Rabbits teachers spend considerable amounts of time on the street, monitoring the situation of the children and getting to know their background. The project is in an excellent position to prevent children who have come to the streets falling into an even worse situation. Wherever possible the project finds a long term solution for the children, whether resettling them with their families or linking them up with the Next Generation Home where they are able to feel safe and use the drop in services.