Breakdown of family systems contributes to street hawking

The breakdown of the family systems, parental neglect of responsibilities toward children, and peer pressure have been identified as major factors contributing to the increasing number of teenagers involved in street hawking in , and its environs.

In a random interview in Tema, most of the teenagers involved in trading on the streets also added poverty as another contributing factor.

Ms Abena Mensah, a Street Hawker narrated that the sudden death of her single mother and the pressure to take care of her basic needs were the circumstances that forced her to enter the street hawking business. She said as a result of these multiple factors, she dropped out of school in class six and joined the street selling enterprise.

Ms Mensah now 18 years old, sells sachet water on the Tema Community One Padmore Street. She said her intention is to save enough money through the business to learn a trade.

Ms Helena Olrike who sells sweets and sachet water seller said that she left school at the Junior High School level because her parents were not financially stable and could not pay for her educational needs. “I am the first child of my parents and had no option but to sacrifice my education ambition, get onto the street to sell to support the income of my parents to ensure that my younger siblings go to school.

“I want to be a designer; therefore, apart from supporting my parents, I'm saving part of what I earn from daily selling on the streets to make more money to enrol in a fashion school in the near future,” she noted.

Ms Olrike who is 20 years old, noted that “being the breadwinner of the family at a tender age, comes along with challenges and at great risk as you are bound to put in the extra efforts to make enough money for the family.” “Sometimes, I have to run after cars to serve passengers who want to buy water, on several occasions, I fell, and lost all the sachets water for the day.”

Ms Abena Tawiah, who sells boiled eggs on the streets said: “It is not easy finding employment, so I am trying to help myself by selling on the streets to take care of my sick mother as well.” “I drop out of school due to the financial instability of my parents and nobody in the extended family was willing to support me in education.”

Ms Cecilia Acquah, poloo (coconut biscuit) seller, also reiterated that selling on the street sometimes poses a threat such as running after vehicles to collect money from passengers after selling to them. “I hope to go back to school but because of financial situations, I have to sell on the street. Sometimes, I feel embarrassed when I see my mates progressing in life,” she added.

Ms Acquah dropped out at the Senior High School level and now wants to enrol in a beautician school.

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