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Many local, national, and international efforts struggle to contain the AIDS crisis in Africa, mainly through medical assistance. Meanwhile, a generation of children has been slipping through the cracks: they remain largely unwanted, uneducated, and at high risk of being infected by the virus themselves. There is no social welfare system and no safety net for these Children. The most important gift we can give them is the chance to fulfill their own potential. We have helped the children by showing we believe in them, investing in their future through education, while empowering them to see their own potential as limitless.
The Manya Krobo area of Eastern Ghana was chosen for the Every Child Program because it has one of the highest concentrations of AIDS and children orphaned by AIDS in Africa and the successful leadership of the Queen Mothers Association.
The United Nations (UN) has observed that children whose parents have died of AIDS face a loss of family, stability, education, as well as economic uncertainty, emotional insecurity, and stigmatization. While various aid groups fight the spread of the disease and mitigate the stigma attached to AIDS, these children need someone now. By empowering orphans and vulnerable children through education, our initiative will have long-lasting effects, not just on our students but on future generations, the region as a whole, and the world. We, the members of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO), can give these children the chance at a better life.
The Every Child is Our Child Program resulted from meeting directly with the Queen Mothers, learning about the community issues and having joint planning session to prioritize their requirements. School fees and health care were the highest priorities. Though the Ghana government spends over 22% of its budget on education, school fees are still required. With the high cost of living and inflation, many of the families who take in additional children are not able to provide the required school fees and access to sports, book bags, school uniforms, notebooks, stationary supplies and science resource centers. Funding school fees is critical to provide the education required by this vulnerable group of children.
Ghana’s educational system has matured and developed immensely over the past half century. Education currently accounts for 28%-40% of the national budget, and since 1987 the educational budget has increased by 700%. However, many school aged children are not receiving the benefits of these improvements. The complete program includes six years of primary school, three years of junior secondary school, and three more years of senior secondary school. Primary school will be mandatory once there are enough facilities and teachers to accommodate all of the children. Primary school begins when a child is six, and s/he will complete senior secondary school at the age of 18. However, although 1.3 million children are now in primary school, only 107,600 are enrolled in secondary school. Find information on Ghana from the United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA).
"As in the rest of Africa, young people between the ages of 10 and 24 comprise more than one-third of the total population of the country. By 2025, young people will number 12 million. Teenage pregnancies are a continuing problem for the Government. Girls in the 15-24 age group account for approximately one-third of all births every year. These high rates are a result of early marriage, sexually active youth, lack of knowledge of reproductive health and lack of access to youth friendly reproductive health information and services. Adolescent child-bearing is twice as high in rural areas as in cities." Read more background on Ghana.
"MOH, NACP Predict Doom for Orphans: 2005 Reports from the Ministry of Health and the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) predicts that many orphans will never receive adequate care and support for schooling as these rights of the child are compromised in the same way."
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Last updated on Friday, May 3, 2013.
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