Leader of opposition and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Dr Lazarus Chakwera has urged government and other stakeholders to put in place policies which will address street children problem in country’s cities and towns.
On Sunday when he addressed various stakeholders at Civo Stadium in the capital Lilongwe when he presided over the commemoration of the International Day for Street Children, Chakwera said that there is need to strengthen policy on Early Childhood Development in order to address challenges which street children are facing.
“The policy on Early Childhood Development needs to be aggressively implemented,” said Chakwera.
Chakwera said he will engage other Members of Parliament, government officials and other stakeholders so that they could reach a turning point in caring of state children in the streets.
He urged Malawians to show solidarity with the agenda to integrate street children and other vulnerable groups into the mainstream society.
“We have mistakenly called these street children perhaps because we may not have any better term to describe children found or living in the streets. But the truth of the matter is: they are our own children, children of our brothers and sisters, children of our neighbours, or children that have been trafficked,” said Chakwera.
The opposition leader said”We must therefore, all join hands in finding lasting solutions to this problem. The problem of children living in the street is not just an urban problem; it is a national problem as well as a global one.”
Chakwera slammed some parents who deliberately send their children for begging in the streets.
“We have some children on the street who are being forced by their poor parents and guardians to ply some trade on the streets as means of earning a living, including prostituting girls. It is equally bad that many of us view children on the street and beggars as lazy and irresponsible. Yet to many of them, it is a survival occupation. They either do it, or get doomed. But why should this be the case? Why should we keep on watching our children being pushed to the limit and live a life of no hope?” queried Chakwera.
“The problem of begging and living in the streets by our children and other vulnerable groups is a symptom of a bigger problem. It is a sign that past strategies and policies have failed to decisively deal with the problem. It means that development policies are not adequately pushing inclusive economic growth and equality,” he added.
In his statement Chisomo Children Club Executive Director Charles Gwengwe said children living on the streets are exposed to a raft of abuses on a daily basis.
He said it is high time government puts the plight of street children into serious consideration.
Economic conditions f were one of the key reasons for the growing number of children on the streets in Maalwi, one of the world’s poorest countries.
Interviews with children living and working on the streets in urban areas showed that the majority ended up there as a result of poverty, sexual or physical abuse and family breakdown.
Last month the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva held discussions on the situation of children living on the streets. Part of the conclusions were specific calls to actions – to listen to street children, adopt integrated approaches, and share good practice.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :