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Hope for Former Street Children

Ghana: Baobab Children Foundation is an NGO founded in 2001, which has established a training centre with an integrated school in the past few years, in order to strengthen the rights of children. 19 Ghanaian and two German co-workers are operating the institution. As a partner of the Friends of Waldorf Education e. V. and as a result of the “Weltwärts” program, Baobab Children Foundation welcomes six volunteers a year.

During the first decades of the 20th century, Ghana has been able to turn their profit from cultivating cocoa and gold mining into a, in Africa unique, development of their infrastructure (streets, harbours, hospitals and schools). At times Ghana even used to be the worlds strongest exporter of cocoa. In 1957 the country was the first nation all over black Africa, gaining independence. Just ten years later Ghana experienced its first revolt. The following period was marked by constant changes between a civil and a military government, as well as financial mismanagement and corruption. Thus the successful times for the Ghanaian economy came to an end. A period of famine during the 1980’s finally demanded searching for help in the Western world and following the associated requirements set by the IWF. In 1993 the country obtained a democratic constitution.

Despite a dept relief and a temporary rise of export figures, the misery of many children remained a dramatic challenge. Children living in the streets, neglected teenagers, who were often not even sent to school or had to leave school due to their alcohol and drug problems, former farm workers and housekeepers, mothers in their teens and illiterate youngsters prompted a group of people to do something against it and therefore found the Baobab Children Foundation.

The youngsters attending Baobab Children Foundation often suffer from aggression and a deeply torn self-esteem. Therefore it is the main aim of the initiative, to point out a path to the future, which is not lacking perspective, to the children and teenagers. Thus it is of utmost importance to support the young people with their search for a profession.

Currently 60 students aged 13 to 18 attend Baobab School, studying arithmetic and learning how to read and write. In order to teach practical skills to their students, the initiative offers a variety of courses, including carpentry, cycle repairing, weaving, stitching, woodcarving, basket making, traditional drumming, dancing, and organic agriculture…

The aim of the teenagers is to obtain a terminated apprenticeship with a public assessment, after four years of training and a practical year. Furthermore, the fostering of their traditional culture is supposed to give them confidence and strengthen their self-esteem through getting in touch with their roots. The school is funded by donations and profits from several products of their own.

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