Every year, thousands of women and young girls migrate from Ghana's less developed north to the major cities of the south in search of a "better life". These female migrants work as head porters (known locally as kayayoo, plural kayayei), spending their days carrying heavy loads for travellers and shoppers to earn an income. These girls, sometimes as young as 16 years, have infants who get caught in the harsh conditions of the open market where their mothers live and work. They live their first years of life either strapped on the backs of their mothers, or left outside on a cardboard box all day with little to no attention, while their mothers work for their livelihood.
Kaya ChildCare augments the efforts of the kayayoo mother in providing for her child’s overall development in the critical formative years of the child's life, to change their default end from a life of the streets. Many interventions for this demographic have focused more on the kayayei, with very little attention on the vulnerable infant children these women may have. Where the children are considered, initiatives have wrongly categorised them as street children, which then affects how effectively such initiatives address the issues they grapple with.
Kaya ChildCare believes strongly in Target 4.2 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals that, “By 2030 ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education”. We believe this includes the vulnerable children of the many kayayei in the markets of major cities in Ghana.