Ousmanou “Bello” Heartbreaking Story

Ousmanou’s story is typical for most street children’s stories. These children, both boys and girls, often come to the street with diverse backgrounds and problems. Some problems are psychological, others are physical and some children have chronic illnesses. When they come to the street, they become exposed to other dangers such as drugs, sexual exploitation, violence, banditry, crime, and then they are classified as juvenile delinquents. They do not have access to basic hygiene, proper habitation, food, medical care and protection as per the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR of 1948).

ntly found on the street by our street team during our daily round up, very ill and so weak he could not walk normally. Armand, GivHOPE journalist, wanted to know more about him and how he ended up on the street of Yaoundé far away from his home town, Ngaoundéré, in the Adamawa Region of Cameroon. He said he came because friends said that Yaoundé was a paradise. But he found out to his shock that street life in Yaoundé is the opposite of what he was told. He added: “my wish is to return home, please help me to go back to my family”.

After this heartbreaking conversation, we offered Ousmanou whatever we could to help him to see his mom and siblings again. We also tried to comfort him by taking him to a nearby pharmacy where he got anti malaria drugs, water, food and cash for his treatment. Ousmanou has lived through all kind of abuses on the street for 3 years and could not take it anymore but we needed his mom’s approval before sending him back home because sometimes, parents completely reject their children especially moms who had their children before marriage. Ousmanou gave me his mom’s mobile phone number and I personally called her and explained how we met her son and learned of his wish to return home. His mom, Madam Rokhayatou, was overwhelmed by the good news about her son and said that she would welcome him home. We made the necessary arrangements to return Ousmanou back to his family and they are all happily reunited again.

GivHOPE responds with a multi-faceted approach to the pitiful plight of street children. It proposes mentoring and tutoring programs to its target groups according to availability and needs. It also provides support and cares for their rehabilitation and reinsertion into their families with a follow-up period from 6 months to 2 years depending on the degree of vulnerability.  Moreover, it assists them to overcome their extreme poverty through capacity building and fund raising for income generating activities, vocational training or apprenticeships. As most of these children are being sexually abused, drug addicted and psychologically traumatized, GivHOPE has a team of psychologists, pastors, and nurses to give them psychological, spiritual and health care support. Overpowered by destructive habits, they have lost faith they can ever succeed in putting their lives back together. After four years of operations, we strongly believe we have broken the silence around the “street children phenomenon” and given hope to many.

Ousmanou was our 95th recipient who returned to his hometown, his community, his family, his friends, his culture and traditions, our motto being “One child, One Family, One Community”. But GivHOPE has not reached its heights yet and needs resources (material, financial and human) for its programs/projects and follow-up process.

Right now we have many other pending cases of homecomings, and we are liaising with their parents to make sure they will not turn the children down.

Following are statistics of some GivHOPE’s major outreach activities: 85 income generating micro projects ranging from selling groceries such as tomatoes, pineapples, oranges, ripe bananas, peppers, peanuts, onions, broccolis to small street businesses, especially mobile phone booths; building construction equipment –second hand tractors-, and supply of second hand female and infants clothing for a total amount of 12,000.00 US$ equivalent. We paid tuition for 13 children and students (basic education to university) and placed 15 young boys and girls in the private sector and vocational training centers (law firm, trade, manufacture and electricity Companies as Jr. Jurist, sale agents, security guard, plastic art crafter, teacher, cable electrician). Among our graduates, we have a police inspector, 2 high school graduates and 1 3rd year university student. 90% of these activities have been successfully completed to the satisfaction of both the stakeholders and the beneficiaries.

All in all, we have registered and cared for more than 100 street children, teens and youths (ages 9-38) and carried out 140 capacity building seminars and workshops. These positive results stem from GivHOPE’s communication strategy by drawing the attention of all stakeholders to this shameful situation. We organize high level periodic meetings, conferences and open-doors aimed at monitoring and showcasing the progress of projects and programs; developing greater confidence between the technical staff of GivHOPE and their counterparts; drafting monthly, semester and annual activities and financial reports; producing articles, memos, and documentaries of our work; developing a culture of partnership; and promoting a better understanding of the national aspects of the street children phenomenon. In short, everything is done to ensure that at the end, programs and projects prepared by GivHOPE follow participatory consultative approaches, through workshops, seminars and beneficiary assessments. Within the framework of this collaboration, themes of common interest are established to implement the conception, financing and design of communication programs, advocacy and awareness campaigns.

We are pleased to inform you that the IRS has designated GivHOPE as a tax-exempt Private Non-Profit Organization under IRS Code Section 501 (c) – Employee ID number 82-5187523, which makes your donation to GivHOPE tax-deductible.

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