Kumasi is the capital of the Ashanti Region and is among the largest metropolitan areas in Ghana, with more than 3 million inhabitants. Since rural poverty remains widespread in Ghana, Kumasi, as a big economic centre, attracts a lot of people who hope to find employment. However, rapid urbanisation has brought many problems to the region. A lot of people are unable to find work and live in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Children can be seen working in the streets as “kayayes”, or porters, for very little money instead of going to school. Furthermore, these children are often at risk of sexual exploitation.
Since 2008, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Kumasi.
The Ashanti Region of Ghana is relatively privileged in economic terms. However, inequality persists in the urban area of Kumasi, as many people who migrate to the city in hope for work face hardships. Many households live in poverty and have limited access to foods that are rich in nutrients or safe drinking water. Often, they cannot access adequate health services. Furthermore, they often lack appropriate sanitation and hygiene facilitates, such as proper toilets.
The growth and development of future generations of children is affected if, in addition to the above challenges, they cannot go to school.
Children living in poverty in the city of Kumasi are particularly vulnerable to illegal labour activities as well as commercial sexual exploitation. However, social services to address different child rights and gender-based violations remain unresponsive, fragmented and uncoordinated.
At the same time, there are not enough local social workers to support children, especially because nearly one in five Ghanaian children need support.