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The life of a street hawker: Women in focus

BY: Rukayatu Amidu

In Ghana, over 4000 street hawkers are found in the major urban areas within the country, most especially the central business center of the Greater Accra Region.

Currently, there are over 6000 street hawkers in the street who are struggling to make ends meet. They operate in unsafe public spaces where they have to manoeuvre between vehicles and motorcycles making their business unsafe. Meanwhile, in the cause of carrying out their duties, some end up losing their lives at the edge of making money.

According to research, most street hawkers are women and about 10%  of them carry their wards at their back while selling in the direct sun. Some even put their toddlers by the roadside and attend to buyers forgetting the danger involved in leaving toddlers on the pedestrian walkway. Research revealed that one of the underlying reasons why people sell on the streets is as a result of poverty and limited job opportunities.

Adoa News team paid a visit to Kaneshie First light in the Accra Metropolitan district and engaged some street hawkers who stated their reasons coupled with life stories that led them to the streets for survival. The hawkers who were not hesitant to speak to the issues they face despite the greater dangers associated with their place of work  said;

Lariba: “It is very hard to get money of late, so when I came to Accra, I try all possible means to get a job but all go futile. Looking at a family I have to cater for, I can’t sit down idle without doing anything. Life in the northern region is not easy so I needed to do something. Infact its very awful walking on the street selling. My three friends died due to this job and the painful aspect is, I don’t get ample money in this work. I was living with my brother so I left immediately he passed on to my friends house but recently am living alone”.

Agatha: “I was staying at Twifo Praso with my dad but I left after I gave birth because my baby daddy was abusing me mercilessly, so my dad advised me to come to Accra and live with my uncle and mum.

They told me to venture into egg business in order to cater for my baby since her dad has refused to cater for her needs and my needs as well”.

“I’m from Volta region, I came to Accra purposely to work but there’s no job in the country, so I first ventured into pure water business which I was not gaining much profits from, so I  started chewing gum business which is a bit profitable as compared to the pure water business. I have been in this business for 3 years, I wish to stop but I won’t get any financial support from anyone”, she added.

This implies that indeed it’s not a deliberate act for them to be on the street selling but rather it is due to poverty and lack of job opportunities in the country.

Source: Adoanewsonline.com

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