Ghana (MNN) — Ghana’s street children usually become nothing more than easy pickings for traffickers and exploiters. A November 2010 census published by England’s Department of Social Welfare identified 61,492 street children–thousands of innocents with no one to protect them–in Accra alone.
But the Lord is working through Every Child Ministries to transform and redeem this vulnerable population.
“When we took them in, they could only say, ‘Give me money, me hungry’…. Now, they have turned into really great readers, and they expressed the desire to read the whole Bible through,” shares ECM’s Lorella Rouster.
Rouster spent the Easter holiday visiting with children and staff at ECM’s Haven of Hope Children’s Home and Academy near Accra. Holiday celebrations happened to coincide with the 12th anniversary of the ministry’s groundbreaking ceremony.
“Haven of Hope started as a children’s home, and now it has transitioned into a boarding school. However, it has exactly the same goal that it did in the beginning: providing safe shelter for needy kids in the name of Jesus,” Rouster says.
“They are not only bringing children to Jesus, but they are actually making disciples.”
ECM’s Haven of Hope ministry provides a safe haven, loving atmosphere, and Christian education to about 48 former street kids. A group of them have started their own Bible study, meeting weekly to study God’s Word. They’re holding each other accountable to the goal of reading the entire Bible.
Additionally, Haven of Hope children are getting ready to start high school, which means leaving ECM’s home.
“Many of the children are now in the high school age, and Haven of Hope only houses them through junior high school,” explains Rouster, adding that nearly all of Ghana’s high schools provide student housing.
“We hope to get them to a place where they will be able to live independently as adults; they’ll be able to make their own way in the world and, of course, contribute to society.”
Students leave Haven of Hope grounded in Biblical Truth and basic education. But, Rouster says, they need a little help crossing into the next phase. There are a lot of up-front costs associated with the first year of high school.
Thankfully, child sponsorships have helped ease the financial burden.
“So far, we’ve not lost any sponsors due to the transition into high school,” Rouster says.
“They’ve developed that personal relationship by then, that friendship, and so most sponsors do choose to continue on.”
If you can’t commit to a monthly investment in the future of a street child but would still like to help, “We do have a Special Needs Fund for Haven of Hope, and that helps with that transition into high school,” shares Rouster.
“It also helps with any extra clothing needs that they have, extra medical needs, textbooks–just any extra things that are needed that we can’t quite cover through the sponsorship.”
Although many former street kids are preparing to leave Haven of Hope and begin a new phase in their lives, they still need your prayers. Ask the Lord to give them wisdom for future decisions and the necessary resources for a safe transition.
Pray also for the younger children at ECM’s Haven of Hope, that they will come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.
“Our goal would be that no child would go out of there without having every opportunity to know Christ,” says Rouster.