By: Anthony Sedzro
This year’s Global Dignity Day (GDD) has been marked with some street children at an event at the Christ the King Parish in Accra.
The street children, numbering over thirty, took part in a three-week art and painting competition which culminated in an awards ceremony on the 18th of October, 2017, the date for GDD 2017 worldwide.
The Global Dignity Day is a day dedicated to educating young people on the values of respect, honour and self-worth. On this day young people worldwide engage in activities depicting the values of dignity.
The children, adorned in GDD t-shirts, some as young as twelve (12) years, were guided to paint different murals on the theme of dignity over a three week period. On the final day of the painting, there was an Art Exhibition showcasing the different paintings done by the children over the three week period. Marks were awarded for punctuality, creativity, originality and commitment, and the children with the three (3) best paintings were given fantastic prizes. The rest of the children were given token gifts.
The GDD is an initiative of Other Stakeholders, an Accra-based social enterprise that holds the Accra chair for the annual event. This year’s painting competition was held in partnership with the Christ the King Parish, near Flagstaff House. The church has a daily soup kitchen programme which provides free hot meals to street children.
Rev. Father Andrew Campbell is the Parish Priest of Christ the King. As a guest speaker, Father Campbell said the church partnered GDD because they want to help the children off the streets.
“Each one of them is a child of God. In the eyes of God, everyone is an important person. So it is to give them a sense of dignity to show that there is somebody who cares and loves them. There is no future in walking on the streets, there is a lot of danger in it-drugs, stealing, prostitution-all these things we try to encourage them to keep away from, and saving their future.”
On the paintings by the children, Father Campbell said he was impressed with the children’s creativity.
“It is hard to believe that it is the same kids who come here every morning to the soup kitchen. I am just amazed at what they have inside them. They have drawn these beautiful pictures and even for the colours they use, [you wonder where they got] some of these ideas from. When we talk of dignity, some of them are drawing love, a father and a mother loving one another and it’s beautiful, another has drawn a flower, God’s gift of creation,” he says.
He went on: “It is wonderful to get these positive side and get them out as we always do. People put down these kids and say they are no good and dirty. But you see them here sitting quiet and drawing something out of their heart and it is beautiful. I commend Global Dignity for coming here and getting this out from them, for them to be able to express themselves.”
The second leg of the celebration took the GDD team to the GINA International School in Madina Zongo, a suburb of Accra, where the school children engaged in a dance competition. The children choreographed dance forms from different major ethnic regions of Ghana to show their appreciation of diversity and respect for every ethnic group, which is a key attribute of GDD.
The annual GDD day is celebrated worldwide in October every year and is the brainchild of three friends, concerned global citizens who met at the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Other Stakeholders has celebrated GDD yearly events for the past six years. Some past years in Ghana have included health screening for Kayayei, essay competitions for schools, donations to the Children’s ward of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital and Talent competitions for primary school children, amongst others.