|With some of the school children at New Life|
As well as spending time in Cape Coast, I also went to Accra, and caught up with some former colleagues. I did some legal research there, and in the past, I have also worked in a law firm and at an advocacy centre. I visited the Human Rights Advocacy Centre. If you have studied, or worked in, human rights, it is possible to do internships there. They do very interesting work.
A lot of my colleagues were talking about issues raised from the Care Reform Initiative (CRI). Currently, children's homes usually accept abandoned children, as well as orphans. As a result of the implementation of the CRI, more children living in homes are being reunified with their families, if possible. This may be with parents, or with other family members. Some people who work with the children say that the children's families often want them to stay in homes (or orphanages), as the children live in better conditions and are guaranteed to get regular meals and have access to an education. This is a very big issue - globally, not just in Ghana - as ideally every child should have a family, and there are serious problems regarding institutionalisation, which will have lifelong effects. At the same time, struggling families may see children's homes as a way to give their children more opportunities in life. Further problems are raised as some homes may have different standards, and if not registered, may not be regulated. It seems that the policy-makers, those working on the ground, and parents have very different views. Ultimately any action must be in the best interests of the child. I would like to explore these issues further and I invite anyone to get in touch with me if they would like share their views on issues of children's homes and reunification (not just in the Ghanaian context, but in general. I am interested in hearing about all regions and countries, and how people are working to solve these problems for children.).
I now hope to post more regularly as I am back home! Wishing you all a nice weekend!