Direct translation: Fence, Representing a fenced home,
A protector, Double security, Safe and Sound.
|Meet the Girls|
These girls (aged 15-19) all have huge ambitions to get off the streets permanently and provide a better future for their children. ABAN is working intensely to transform the lives of these ten street girls and their babies by providing them with housing in addition to programs in sewing, English, Health, and Business education, counseling, living stipends, and a matching savings program. At the end of this intensive one year program the girls will have the tools they need to change their lives and provide for themselves and their children.
Please note all names changed for the safety of the girls.
Afia is a 15 year old street girl who cannot remember how old she was when she came to Accra. She was too young to gauge her years, and too young to understand what was really happening when a woman came to her village looking for girls to sell baked goods. The woman took Afia to Accra with the promise of work. Poverty in their village led Afia and her sister to go with the woman, only to soon find themselves selling bread for the woman without receiving any pay. It wasn't long before her sister decided to run away and Afia followed. They lived together on the streets for a while until her sister started staying with a man. Afia remained on the streets and sold bags of water, making a profit of 1 cent per bag.
When Abina was twelve years old her father remarried and pushed Abina out of the household. She left her village with her older brother in search for their mother. When the attempt failed, they made their way to Accra to find a way to support themselves. Abina was able to find work washing dishes at a restaurant for a very small wage and very long hours (4am -10pm). When Abina quit her job, she was able to find some refuge during the day at Catholic Action for Street Children (CAS), where she was able to engage in activities with other street kids. However, when night fell, she was left to fend for herself, usually sleeping outside of closed shops. When Abina got pregnant at the age of 17, she was referred to Street Girls Aid (S.Aid) by CAS. At S.Aid she delivered a healthy baby boy, Kwaku, but as her four month stay at S.Aid just came to an end, she was heartbroken that she would be back on the streets selling bags of water in order to provide for her baby.
Yaa was only 9 years old when both her parents died in her hometown. With no one to care for her in the village, Yaa made her way to Accra and ended up selling cocoa drinks. Life was very hard for many years, as Yaa had to learn how to live on the streets at such a young age. She slept on the streets and was exposed to the elements each night and dodged in and out of traffic in order to sell her goods on the streets each day. When an older man offered to take her in, Yaa thought she saw an end to having to live day by day, never knowing if she would have enough food or a place to sleep. She also explained that it was the first act of kindness she had encountered on the streets. However, when the man impregnated her, she decided she must run away.
Yaa found refuge at S.Aid where she delivered her baby boy Kojo. With one month left at the refuge, she greatly feared what was to come. She did not want to suffer on the streets again and has big dreams for herself and even bigger dreams for her son. She wants to open a hair salon with many of her own apprentices. Yaa speaks English very well and loves learning, and she would love to go back to school. However, Yaa knows her first obligation is to provide for her son, so she feels becoming a hairdresser is a more realistic alternative. She wants her son to have the best education and hopes he will one day be a doctor, lawyer, minister, or even the President of Ghana. Despite her tough upbringing, Yaa is always smiling and a very gentle and caring mother.
ABAN is now featuring each one of our girls every Monday on our blog! Get to know them and love them as much as we do- click here