Marking International Day of Street Children

12th April 2022 | Blog

Children in street situations face numerous challenges in their quest to fend for themselves. These children often fail to have their basic needs met, and access to education can be hard to come by.

Here at Book Aid International, we’re working for a world where all children have access to books, whatever the barriers they face. That’s why we support children living and working on the streets through the community-based grassroots non-government organisation, Street Child Empowerment Foundation (SCEF). SCEF rescues children from the streets to give them education, hope, and a brighter future.

Over the last few years, thanks to funding from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, our programmes team here at Book Aid International has been working with SCEF in Ghana to implement the ‘Reading is Basic’ programme.

The programme aims to promote reading as a child’s right, to engage students in regular reading, improve academic performance and reduce school dropouts.

To do this, we have provided brand new, carefully selected books for SCEF to distribute, furniture for reading spaces and boxes to transport books.  The programme also provides training for school staff and librarians, which equips them with the skills needed to manage the new resources.  

We heard from a few students and teachers to find out the difference this programme is making to the lives of children who may have never had access to a book before: 

“Her teacher sometimes calls me to inform me that they have given my child a book to read. So, I try to make sure it’s read and make her tell me the story.” Auntie Sophia, a parent whose child attends Obokwashie M/A Basic School. 

“When it’s Friday, I borrow some of the books to keep me busy at home.” Samuel, Learner, Obokwashie M/A Basic School. 

A student reads at home with her mum in Ghana.

“As a headmistress, I visit each class during library period to engage them in passage reading. This is to help show the student pronunciation skills and confidence level.” Dora, Headmistress, John Wesley Methodist Basic School. 

“With the containers, we are able to move books to classes that are having a reading period without having students having to carry books on their heads.” Emmanuel, Headteacher, Fankyenekor M/A Basic School. 

Mary enjoys taking books out of school to read in her spare time

“I didn’t know there was a way of managing a library. I thought managing a library was about presenting books to learners and once it’s time you pick it up. But the training I received opened my eyes on the necessary steps to take before getting or making a great impact on a reader/learner.” Nii Ayitey Ayettey, Headteacher, Redemption Presbyterian Preparatory School. 

“You should see them in the library when it’s free period or library period. They enjoy visiting the library and they turn to ask for assistance when having difficulty pronouncing words in their storybooks.” Emmanuel, Headteacher, Odumprala M/A Basic School. 

In total, 10,903 books have been distributed to 15 educational institutions. In addition 125 chairs, 25 tables, 10 shelves, 20 containers, and 198 boxes were distributed to 15 educational institutions to refurbish their libraries. The impact of this programme continues to be monitored, but what’s clear is the improvement in the quality of education that street children are now able to access, the reduction in drop-out rates and the general culture of reading that has been installed in these communities.

With a special thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for helping to make this vital work possible.