“Most people on the street hardly take notice of them”: Adam and Mohammed’s Story
“Most people on the street hardly take notice of them”
Adam is a 14-year-old boy who, due to poverty, migrated from Maradi, Niger to the busy city streets of Kumasi, Ghana. He comes to the streets with his siblings to beg and find ways to meet his meet his basic needs: “His situation is not stable and he has to choose among different areas in the city to attract the attention of sympathisers. He sometimes has to change spots throughout the day”, explains Mohammed, a Street Worker with StreetInvest’s partner MFCS. Sometimes Adam goes a day without making any money. “I just borrow from my friend and pay back the following day if I get something,” he says. “It is very sad to be a beggar. I do not want it but there is almost nothing else that I can do”. Adam dreams of going back to Niger and back to school.
Adam faces rejection every day, the humiliation of being considered different from other children or, too often, simply invisible. This is a story common to many children surviving on the street, and one that Street Work strives to rewrite. The Street Workers from MFCS already had a relationship with Adam before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in 2020, but it was after that their interactions with the child increased and their support took on a new dimension.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, street-connected children have been exposed to exponential risks of getting ill due to their poor living conditions, as well as inadequate knowledge of, and access to, prevention and treatment. Adam and his peers on the street have relied on Mohammed and his colleagues to know what is going on and how to stay safe.
“He (Adam) tells us how much he appreciates the Covid-19 prevention education we always hold with them on the streets, saying that nobody comes around to educate them on how to stay safe as we do with them”, reports Mohammed.
Street Workers support street-connected children like Adam daily with accessing their basic needs, and especially in the uncertain and challenging times of the pandemic, it is crucial not only to make them safe from the virus but also considered and protected. As Mohammed reports, “Relationship building with the street-connected children is one significant aspect of our work. We build relationship with every child we come into contact with on the street. It helps to understand these children, how they cope on the streets and explore opportunities for them to build their future”.
Building such a relationship of trust with Adam and his peers was crucial to make children feel seen and cared for again through such difficult times. “We keep closer to them thus we create enough time to share with them and speak in their language which always makes them happy,” says Mohammed. “They were ready to share anything about themselves to us on the street. They do not have such interaction with people around them as most people on the street hardly take notice of them”.
In line with StreetInvest’s Child Safeguarding Policy, Adam’s name has been changed. Click here for more information on StreetInvest’s work in Ghana.