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General News Mon, 19 Nov 2001

The Azusa Project

A child is selling rubber bags to provide his or her next meal, with no home, parental guidance, nor comfort at the end of the day. Instead, he or she returns from the gruelling day to a patch of cement shared with others with similar independence.

All of them are from broken, parentless, or violent homes within and surrounding Accra.

This group of children and young adults function as a "street-kid" family, lacking guidance, health, education, and comfort, yet full of hope for the future.

Some of the 200 street-children living within Kaneshie, Accra have acquired guidance from the only and nearest source, the Praise Valley Church and its members, who have formed the Azusa Project.

The Azusa, or "street kids" project is conducted through a church based NGO, the Praise Valley Foundation, which thus far has proved to be the most successful project of the NGO.

Conducted by the church’s pastor, and a few devoted members, the project has recently celebrated a one-year anniversary with the small amount funds available.

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With the funds, some church members provide frequent family-like counselling visits to the streets, Sunday church service and breakfast. They also have a central office with computer training and medical provisions, vocational training for children who have shown devotion to bettering their lives, and have purchased a tract of land for housing.

The projects’ main focus, however, is if possible, to return the children to their families and encourage them to continue education, which the majority have left in their past.

Members have attempted to house those children who qualified to attend school or training, but space, time and finances are limited, further slowing plans to build a hostel and vocational training centre.

Emmanuel Mensah, a beneficiary of the project currently attending school, is housed near the church quarters by members of Praise Valley Temple. Other children showing cooperation and determination have been housed with members to keep them off of the streets.

Greater funds would further allow for adequate materials needed for an independent educational effort of the church, including its recently volunteer-organized English classes.

The combined involvement of the community, other churches, and other NGOs within Accra and the whole of Ghana would allow for a corporative effort in housing, educating, and caring for the street’s brightest children with adequate funding and more individual care.

Source: Accra Mail
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