By Patience Lunda, Contributor:
The Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare and non-governmental organisations that advocate children’s rights have rescued over 97 streets kids in three cities of the country.
The ministry has embarked on the exercise after observing that there is an increase in the number of street kids in cities.
Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare spokesperson, Lucy Bandazi, said 40 kids have been rescued in Lilongwe, 25 in Mzuzu and 32 in Blantyre City.
“Our assessment indicates that some parents need parental skills while others require capacity-building for them to have viable sources of income. We are helping children based on their needs since some have fled their homes because of poverty, hunger and orphanhood,” she said.
She, however, said there was need to channel more resources to the cause.
“The ministry has a social cash transfer programme that assists their families but it is not enough; which is why there is need for more resources to effectively remove them [street kids] and reconnect them with their families,” Bandazi said.
Meanwhile, Foundation for Children’s Rights Executive Director, Jenipher Mkandawire, has commended the ministry on the move.
“These children learn bad behaviours while roaming the streets. Some steal while others indulge in other bad behaviours,” Mkandawire said.
Research shows that more than 8,000 children live on the streets of Malawi’s major cities while 80 percent of those kids are orphaned through HIV and Aids.
The Malawi Poverty and Vulnerability Assessment shows that over 60 percent of Malawians live below the poverty line of $2 a day while 22 percent of them are extremely poor, living below 10 cents a day. This situation has forced some children onto the streets to supplement their families’ incomes.