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General News of Tuesday, 24 March 2020


I begged for 16 years to cater for my 5 children - Woman reveals

Aminatu Alhassan play videoAminatu Alhassan

No matter where you go in Ghana, the poor seem to be with us. Here's the untold story of a woman who has been begging for the past 16 years to feed her family.

Poverty-stricken and deprived men, women and children on the streets are an inherent part of the cityscape.

Adults who migrated from the rural areas to the big city in hopes of finding better-paid work soon realize that the cities are overflowing with unskilled workers, and so they end up begging in the streets to survive.

Emerge from your bus or cab in major cities across the country and you would see them: adult and little kids with big, pleading eyes who approach with hands outstretched and palms upturned, carrying weary looks to beg for alms.

They linger at major road intersections, bus stops and outside major shopping centres. You will find them in dusty clothing, often barefoot and frequently skinny and undernourished.

And if they happen to pass you, be you, foreigner or native, they stop and hold out a hand. Some people ignore them; some shove them away; some treat them with disdain; a few hand out coins, some food.

Aminatu Alhassan’s plight may read a little different, and yet her story is no less heart-rending.

From a trader to a beggar, but through no fault of hers, she has to feed her entire family.

And this, as painful and as bizarre as it may sound, she manages to do successfully through begging on the streets for change.

Her children’s future reeks of hopelessness, and her current appearance leaves much to be desired.

Narrating her story on SVTV Africa, she disclosed to host DJ Nyaami how the events of divorce led to her current condition.

The mother of five revealed that, she used to sell rice and later stop to do petty trading. She said she later had to stop the trade because business wasn’t going on well.

The circumstance she faced has force her to lose courage and succumb to the adverse situations.

Aminatu since then has been begging for the past 16 years on the streets of Kwame Nkrumah Circle and Madina Zongo junction to cater for her children.

“I was married to a Nigerian man, unfortunately, the marriage didn’t work out and so we had to divorce. I had five children with him including twins. He used to call to check up on us but for the past three years we’ve not heard from him.”

“I started selling rice after I return back from Nigeria. I later stop to do some petty trading, unfortunately, the business wasn’t booming and so I had to quit the business, that was when I started begging at Circle to take care of my children,” She said.

In a generation where people have become sceptical about giving out money to beggars, it’s a difficult situation to imagine Aminatu living in. She’s begging out of duress. She’s not one of those women who belong to well-organized gangs who run begging rackets; she just needs to feed her family.

Aminatu furthered that, she makes an amount of GHS20 to 50 a day and sometimes comes home with food and cooking items. She said she overlooks what people think and say about her because no one will take care of them when she does not go out to beg.

“I get about GHS20 to 50 a day and sometimes come home with food and cooking items to prepare food for the family. I’m extremely grateful to Ghanaians for their generosity. Sometimes I hear people talk about me begging but it doesn’t bother me because if I don’t do that I can’t take care of my family,” Aminatu said.

Aminatu stated that the huge task of providing for herself and her children, the weight of the burden is really having a toll on her.

Though, confronted with the pains of divorce and single parenthood, Aminatu’s desire to get herself out of the begging lifestyle seems to be very obvious, as she told DJ Nyaami that she would like to quit begging and start a provision store to cater for the family.

“If I get support and I would like to start a provision store, it will help me take care of the children. I have been begging for far too long. I’m willing to do something – start a business but I don’t have the means to," Aminatu says.

Aminatu is currently living in a kiosk with her twins at Madina Zongo in Accra.

If she is able to unravel her fate out of this hopeless maze, her story would indeed be such an inspirational one.

Watch video below