The Greater Regional Director of Social Welfare and Community Development, Mrs Phyllis Emefa Senyo, says the government is making efforts to reduce the number of residential homes for children in the country, with a new emphasis on family-based care, which would be kinship care, foster care or adoption.
She, however, noted that the existence of residential homes for children could not be overlooked or ruled out completely because their services come in handy, hence the need for a few to exist for emergency purposes.
Stating this at the 21st anniversary celebration of the Porter’s Village, a children’s home at Dodowa in the Greater Accra Region, Mrs Senyo urged the children in the village to take advantage of the opportunities to learn and excel in school in order to become independent, adding “the home is not your permanent place of abode.”
The Porter’s Village, a non-governmental Orphanage Home established in 2000 at Dodowa in the Shai-Osudoku District, currently has 107 orphans, street children, homeless children and needy children aged between two months and 23 years.
The home also takes care of 20 needy children from some areas across the country. A few of the elderly ones at the home are in tertiary institutions, while some are in the senior high schools with the majority at the basic level.
The 21st anniversary was on the theme “Promoting Peace and Harmony in Families -Our Collective Responsibility.”
The Shai-Osudoku District Officer in charge of DOVVSU, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Georgina Tawiah, said the shelter had been a great help and assistance to DOVVSU in the district for the past 21 years, saying “our clients always give us good report about this home which helps the vulnerable and the traumatised.”
ASP Tawiah mentioned parental care, excessive beating of children, child abuse, lack of parental supervision, threat to life, fear, insult, child labour, environmental influences, child neglect and broken homes, which affected children mostly, as some of the major issues that confronted DOVVSU in the district.
The Paramount Chief of the Owirenkyi Traditional Area in the Central Region, Ehunabobrim Prah Agyensaim VI, who chaired the function, entreated the children in the home to be obedient and respectful for sympathisers and loved ones to assist in taking care of them to become responsible adults in future.
Addressing guests at the home’s anniversary last Saturday, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Village, Dr Mrs Jane Irina Adu, said since the establishment of the village, it had not only provided support services to victims of violence but had also collaborated with the media, the Ghana Education Service, traditional and opinion leaders to undertake preventive measures such as awareness raising, dissemination of information and campaigns tagged “It’s 8:00 PM- Where is your child?” and “Family Life Education and campaign against violence against women and children in Ghana.”
The village, she said, represented Ghana in March 2002 at a United Nations Conference on “The Commission on the status of women” held in USA.
Dr Adu said the birth of the Porter’s Village coincided with the establishment of the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs and Women and Juvenile Unit (WAJU) of the Ghana Police Service.
She said the Porter’s Village, therefore, collaborated with the ministry and the WAJU and other governmental agencies including the Judiciary which referred abused women and children cases to the shelter for their safe keeping and empowerment.
The CEO noted that the responsibility of ensuring peace and harmony lay on the shoulders of the government, corporate bodies, organisations, state institutions such as the police service, the National Commission for Civic Education, the Judiciary, social welfare and others including traditional rulers, the media, religious bodies, families and individuals, urging all to play their part to achieve peace and harmony that we desired.
“Sadly, today, the values in the extended family system where communal life was the order of the day and where each member of the family was each other’s keeper, where uncles and aunties took care of nephews and nieces, where corrections of societal wrongs was everyone’s responsibility, are now being jettisoned on the altar of the so-called modernity and nuclear family system,” she lamented.
The CEO said people in the country could not live in peace and harmony and achieve the development desired if they continued to put up the attitude of “devil may care.” She explained that it was against that background that the Porter’s Village was founded to help women and children to reach their full potential and to have fulfillment in life.
She said in pursuance of that objective, the village provided shelter, food, clothing, education, psychological, emotional and other material needs to all children in the Potter’s Village.
She added, “By this, we are able to take these children out of the street, give them a sense of hope and a good future to help contribute to the development of the nation’s peace and harmony.”