AfriKids believes in the rights of all children, everywhere, and that they should be valued, protected and met by all. They exist to make this the reality for children in northern Ghana, where more than half of families live in poverty and need our support to ensure our children can be safe, healthy and in school, giving them the opportunity to escape poverty for good.
Since 2002, AfriKids has helped transform hundreds of thousands of lives. Thousands of children have been helped off the streets, out of child labour, rescued from trafficking and saved from abuse, neglect and even death as a result of traditional beliefs and practices. Instead they have enrolled in school, their families have been supported to lift themselves out of poverty, their health has improved and harmful beliefs and practices have been dissolved.
AfriKids has achieved all of this led by local people, with a simple approach of listening to their communities and empowering them to make sustainable changes themselves.
The Family Livelihoods Support Programme has provided loans to around 2,500 women, enabling them to grow their monthly income by approximately 77 GHS. Alquity has helped to fund two AfriKids staff members who worked directly with the women’s cooperatives; support which transformed the lives of over 10,000 people in 2017.
The provision of loans to support the growth of small family businesses mean more women are economically active and contributing directly to their local economy. The increased variety of businesses bring trade and new products to the local market and those that are more successful are now employing other women as their businesses grow.
Over 80% of women use their profits to fund their children’s education, helping to lift their families out of poverty, for good. Women also become more active members of their households and communities through social empowerment and increased confidence, some are now members of their local councils which are traditionally male-dominated.
The Transforming Futures Programme works to help young adults to secure their own financial security through support for professional skills training, formal education or vocational training. Since it launched in 2015 with support from Alquity, the programme has helped hundreds of young adults to become more economically active.
Supporting ambitious, under-privileged young adults to pursue their higher education or skills training provides them with the opportunity to secure their own independent future and become more active members of society. In rural Ghana, less than 2% of people hold tertiary qualifications and 57% of 15-35 year olds have no education. AfriKids is changing this.
Supporting the training of teachers and nurses is filling a skills gap in the region, where access to quality education and healthcare is lacking. Primarily supporting women, the project indirectly reduces infant and maternal mortality rates, because educated women are more empowered to make their own life decision meaning they are more likely to have fewer, healthier children and will have their first child later in life.
A bright nursing student, Helen, is now in her second year of training. At 27, she is itching to qualify and formally start work but for the moment she is happy to finally be pursing her ambition.
At 16, Helen moved away from her family home to study at senior high school in the busy city of Bolgatanga. On completing her studies with good grades, she wanted to apply to Nursing College but her family wasn’t able to cover the cost of the tuition fees.
Helen was determined not to give up on her dream and she enrolled on the National Youth Employment scheme for a medical position. Her grades and skills were noted and she flew through the interview, to be selected as a Ward Aid Assistant at the AfriKids Medical Centre. Over the next four years, Helen worked hard, saving everything she could towards funding her nursing training, even moving in with her brother and his wife to save on rent costs.
Whilst working at the AfriKids Medical Centre, Helen’s commitment was recognised by the Medical Director who encouraged her to apply for nursing college. Although she didn’t want to get her hopes up due to the highly competitive application – 2,000 applicants are fighting for around 250 places – Helen received the exciting news that she had been successful!
Pooling together her savings, Helen realised that she did not have enough to cover the tuition fees, let alone her living costs. But her connection to the AfriKids Medical Centre, brought the Transforming Futures support to her attention, and she was selected as a candidate. If AfriKids could cover her fees, Helen could use her savings for rent, food and other living costs, whilst using holidays to earn enough to see her through her studies.
Now in her second year, Helen, has her sights on becoming a midwife which would require a further two years of training. She’s currently renting a place with her sister and when she isn’t studying she helps out at a local clinic, both improving her skills and earning enough to support herself.
Helen is determined to make a difference to the lives of others which is driving her to try her hardest.