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Royal Seed Needy Home

by Bill Osler / September 6, 2008 9:51 PM PDT

Royal Seed (the orphanage we visited in Ghana) didn't start out as an orphanage. It just ended up that way. As I understand it, there once was a school for girls (single mothers) who needed to learn to cook and sew. The goal was to have them become self supporting. Unfortunately, some of the graduates did not take their children with them when they left the school. One of the people from the school started caring for the abandoned children and things ballooned out of control from that point. They have 70-80 children now. I think there were 2 new children dropped off the day before we visited.

Now Royal Seed operates in a sort of legal limbo. They are not licensed as an orphanage and they do not have facilities adequate to care for the 70-80 children who live there but they don't have any place to send the children. They also have a sort of love/hate relationship with the government (For example, there is an article here) For a different view, you can read this.

The food is usually adequate, but it is unpredictable. The Sunday we visited there had been an announcement at Michael's church that the home was almost out of food. We bought a couple of hundred dollars worth of rice, oil, and so forth on our way to the home, and somebody else had taken some food earlier in the day so they had enough for the moment.

There is a video about Royal Seed on YouTube:
http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=zo9MCW3-e2w
That video was posted about a year ago, and I'm not sure that the current situation is as dire as the video suggests, but the needs are real. The situation is also considerably more complex than the video suggests. The legal status of the home is problematic. My understanding is that the woman who runs the home has been able to enroll most of the older children in the public school since it is free. She cannot get health insurance for all of them (even though in Ghana it is sometimes free and usually very inexpensive for children) because she does not have the appropriate documents for many of the children. Abandoned children don't usually have birth certificates and such, and I'm not sure she even knows the exact birth date or legal name for some of them.

Everything about Royal Seed presents challenges. The children desperately need a better home, better food, more adult supervision ... but none of these things are available now.

I wish I could say that Royal Seed is somehow unique in its needs, but I cannot. There are huge numbers of orphans in Africa for a number of reasons and there are not enough resources to care for them.

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