I explained to Sister Bernadette who  heads the Jirapa Town Kindergarden that I was also interested in visiting the orphanage across the road.  She walked over with me to introduce me the head nun there.  I wanted her to understand my motivation for visiting.  I shared that my daughter, grandmother and mother-in-law had each spent time in children’s home and how I wanted to understand the circumstances of the children.  My daughter had spent the first few months in her life in a baby house in Kazakhstan, my grandmother had spent at least a year of her life in a children’s home after her mother died in childbirth with one of younger siblings and my mother-in-law escaped Germany during the war and spent several years in children’s homes in France.

There were 15 children being cared for in the Jirapa orphanage I visited.  The primary reason for a child being taken in by the orphanage was loss of a mother.  Most of the children there had fathers and family still living and there was some hope of eventual reunification.  I asked if some of the children stayed there due to being born to single mothers, but that seemed to be much less common in Ghana than in other places.

What the children lacked in material goods, they made up for in love.  The head nun exuded kindness and the children struck me as exceptionally happy.  The head nurse and discussed the importance of early attachment, which she fully appreciated.  They make a special effort to hold the babies as much as possible.

The orphanage is primarily supported by the local archdiocesse with occasional donations from visiting church group.  They receive little or no money from the Ghanian government.

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Children of Jirapa Town Orphanage

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