Mr Prem Shukla (middle), Country Director of Plan Ghana shaking hands with Nana Osabarima Ofei Kwasi Agyeman IV, Krontihene of the Akuapem Traditional Area
Mr Prem Shukla (middle), Country Director of Plan Ghana shaking hands with Nana Osabarima Ofei Kwasi Agyeman IV, Krontihene of the Akuapem Traditional Area

Plan Ghana, a child-centered non-governmental organization, has inaugurated the pilot phase of the Child Helpline ? 0268116611, at Akropong Akuapem in the Eastern Region.

Mr. Prem Shukla, Country Director of Plan GhanaIt was on the on the theme ?Giving Children Voices Through Child Helpline?.

The Project, which is under the auspices of the Girl Power Project, is being implemented by Plan Ghana in collaboration with the African Movement Against Child Abuse and Neglect (AMPCHAN) and Crescent.

Plan Ghana?s Girl Power Project seeks to promote equal rights for girls and young women with funding of over ?3,000,000 from the Government of the Netherlands.

?Indeed, this day is very important and significant as it marks the beginning of the provision of about 15,000 children with a voice and access to child friendly protection services, through a Child Helpline,? Mr Prem Shukla, Country Director of Plan Ghana, said in his address on Tuesday.

?I wish to reiterate Plan?s commitment to contributing to effective national and community level child protection systems by supporting initiatives such as this Child Helpline.?

He said children were amongst the most vulnerable segments of the population and needed the highest level of protection by their parents, families, communities and all stakeholders to ensure that they grew up in a safe and resilient environment.

The Country Director said: ?Unfortunately however, many children find themselves in abusive situations with the perpetrators being the very people who are to ensure their protection.

?In such situations, most children tend to keep their neglect and abusive conditions to themselves since they have no one to confide in for support.

?This is where this Child Helpline comes to provide the crucial platform for their voices to be heard. With just a phone call to the Helpline on 0268116611, all children in the Akuapem North Municipality can directly have access to trusted counselors who will link them up to the appropriate authorities to ensure that they are freed from their abusive conditions.?

He said the project had a long term goal of being scaled up to the national level to offer all children in Ghana an opportunity for their voices to be heard and for them to access their right to protection.

Mr Shukla noted that the telephone number was easy to remember and toll free.

?My dear children, this helpline project are being implemented for you. We need you to share your stories on all neglect and abuse situations with the counselors. For us at Plan Ghana, your protection is a core area being pursued.

?We will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders including yourselves to ensure your protection at all times,? The Country Director stated.

Nana Osabarima Ofei Kwasi Agyeman IV, Krontihene of the Akuapem Traditional Area, who performed the launch on behalf of the Okuapemhene, urged teachers and the media to help? publish the helpline.

The Kontihene further commended the Dutch Government, Plan Ghana and their partners for the project.

Mrs Jet Bastiani, Gender and Health Adviser, Plan Netherlands said for the project to be effective, it would require the collaborations of the police, schools, hospitals, the Department of Social Welfare and the public.

Mrs Jessica Dzokoto of the Department of Social Welfare advised adults to encourage children to voice out their problems and abuses for redress.

Mr George Baiden, Child Helpline Coordinator and AMPCHAN Chief Executive Officer said aside the telephone; ?Drop Boxes? would be provided in schools.

GNA

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