NGO supports kayayei, others

BY: Joshua Bediako Koomson

Good Neighbours Ghana, a South Korean-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), has provided relief items to 750 vulnerable people living in and around the central business district of Accra.

Made up mainly of kayayei (female head porters), each beneficiary took home a five-kilogramme bag of local rice, one kilogramme of gari, a packet of sugar, one litre of cooking oil and five pieces of 70-gramme canned tomato paste.

In addition, they were provided with antiseptic soaps, hand sanitisers and reusable nose masks to ensure their safety during the COVID-19 period.

Out of business
At a ceremony in Accra to present the items, the President of the NGO, Mr Dong Hyun Kwak said the initiative was deemed necessary due to the adverse effects of the pandemic on the lives of the head potters and other vulnerable persons.

He explained that “These are people who get their source of income only when markets are active; their lives largely depend on people who go to do shopping in the market, and due to fear as a result of the pandemic, people hardly go to the market to shop, and this has really affected their operations.

“Now most of them are finding it very difficult to take care of themselves and their children. Most of them have not received basic education or job training to enable them to switch to other businesses; their lives largely depend on this kayayei business, and as an NGO have decided to help them to survive these trying times,” Mr Kwak added.

He said through the emergency livelihood support programme, the NGO would frequently be providing relief items and personal protective equipment to the head potters to ensure that they were shielded from some potential threats that otherwise confronted them.

The Country Representative of the NGO, Mr Ilwon Seo, said kayayei who were largely homeless, constituted one of the most vulnerable groups in the capital and therefore required attention.

He explained that with the pandemic expected to last for several months, there was the urgent need to support such groups to ensure their livelihoods were not disrupted.

“This pandemic is expected to last several months at least during the year of 2020. Thus, there is an urgent need to support this group’s livelihood in the mid-to-long term perspective with vital resources, including basic hygiene awareness promotion and food,” he said.