Provide us with alternative source of livelihood — Kayayei

Some head porters (Kayayei) at Tudu in Accra have called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to initiate sustainable social intervention programs to improve upon their poor living conditions.

According to them, the alternative sources of livelihood could cushion them against hardship.

Kayayei is a trade often undertaken by thousands of young female adults who migrate from the northern Ghana to Accra.

The practice has been in existence in Ghana for decades and children between ages 15 to 18 and adults 35 years and above engage in what is described as a hand-to-mouth job.

Analysts have suggested the need for government to make the northern part of Ghana economically viable and habitable to minimize the migration of the youth down south in search of the “the golden fleece.”

Poor living conditions

In an interview with Daily Graphic, it was revealed that some of them were school dropouts, debtors and young females who had escaped from outmoded socio-cultural practices such as forced marriages and female genital mutilation (female circumcision).

One of them, Ramatu Asiedu, said business this month was really bad, compared to business during the Christmas period.

“I do not have money on me and what to spend today is even a problem; business this month is slow so I spend whatever I get in a day,” she said.

She said they needed better jobs because they did not get any profit that would enable them to save some or transfer some to their family members.

Vocational Education

Amina Yakubu also explained that she lived in the streets and in open places while engaging in menial jobs such as carrying heavy loads on their heads and had not saved any money to continue her education.

“I really want to continue my education, since I dropped out of school after Junior High School (JHS) because of inadequate funds,” she said.

According to her, she is waiting to be a beneficiary of the free education promised by the government.

“I want to pursue my dream, but not to remain in this situation of being a head porter, where some people normally harass us,” she added.

Marimatu Yakubu, one of the head porters, also explained that some of them wanted to engage in vocational training such as sewing and hair dressing to have a better living.

“I need a better job to raise money to pay my debt at my hometown, because my family went for loan to enrol my siblings in school,” she said.

She also pleaded that the government should give them decent accommodation and save them from sleeping under perilous conditions.

“When it rains, we really suffer,” she added.

No Jobs

Another head porter, Azumi Salifu, stressed that she came from Walewale to work in Accra because there were no jobs in her community, but working as a porter was nothing to boast of.

She added that it was very stressful and she did not earn much income to cater for herself.

“The government needs to create more jobs at the Upper East, West and Northern regions so that some of us would not travel that far to work in Accra,” Salifu told Daily Graphic.

According to her, she has been working for the past five months but there is no money with which she can travel back home although she wants to go because she is not making much money as she anticipated.