The children at House of HOPE are doing well. School has just re-opened and each student was given a school bag and so they will be going to school each day with a new backpack. Some are doing very well in school while others continue to struggle academically. Many of our children did not have the opportunity to start school when they were supposed to and so some of the children are behind two or three grades already. However, we are working with them to bring their grades up.
I had an opportunity to meet with the Regional Director and two staff members from the Department of Social Welfare which has oversight of all orphanages and homes where children are cared for in Ghana. The DSW staff informed me that the government of Ghana is looking for ways to improve the care of orphans which must include a permanency plan. It means that, the system must use the extended family system to support the growth of orphans in their own neighborhood so that there will be a continuity of the extended family unit. While I believe in the extended family system, I am also convinced that a lot has changed in terms of how that system works today. It used to be that the African extended family unit was a great force to reckon with. An uncle or an aunt or grandparents could take that child in and care for that child even through to the university. My grandparents took care of me while my maternal uncles paid for my educational expenses without a father to do all of that for me. That is how I got education up to the sixth form level (high school). In today’s Ghana, the story is quite different. There is only about 5% that get this opportunity which I had as child.
The government wants to see orphans supported in their own homes and neighborhoods. It means that the sponsoring agency will pay school expenses, provide school uniforms, medical care, and textbooks while the children live with their extended families or care-takers. Well, many of these children do not have decent places in those family homes to sleep, the meal situation is bad and so that could compromise the health of those children. I made it clear to the social workers that AfriHOPE Missions was prepared to do all of that except to send food or money to the extended family to feed those children. My reason is very simple. Experience in the past has shown that the food or money sent to the families would be used to feed other children and leave the orphans to go hungry. Believe it or not, there is an orphan crisis in Africa without excluding Ghana. AfriHOPE Missions is looking for better ways to support the government’s idea of helping children in their own family homes and neighborhoods, but the logistics will have to be thought through carefully. Maybe a soup kitchen might be set up to deal with the poor nutritional needs of those children. That idea is being considered seriously as the Missions is seeking funding to expand.
Our little bundle of joy called Prosper continues to grow. He is eating and sleeping well under the care of House Mother and her team. Prosper gets a lot of attention from the House mother, the female staff and all the children. Some of the girls at the house have been using Prosper to improve her baby-sitting skills. Thanks to all of you. If the Lord has touched your heart and would like to help, please, do not hold back because there are many more children waiting for your support. We will be extremely glad to hear from you and to have you as our friend in ministry.
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