Malawi Police will soon start arresting parents whose children are seen roaming the streets begging starting from Monday, February 29, according to Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Dr Mary Shawa.
Speaking during a news conference which took place at Chisomo Children’s Club in the Capital City Lilongwe, Shawa said her Ministry will make sure that Laws of Malawi on child care and protection by the family are duly followed.
“We have evidence that some parents send those children into the streets for exploitation we will hunt them down till we find them. As government, we want this to stop immediately,” said Shawa.
“Previously we were targeting the children but we have noted that children do not go on the street on their own. The guardians and the parents are the ones sending the children on the street because of the money they make, that is why we have now targeted the parents and they will be arrested,” she said.
According to a survey conducted by the Ministry and Chisomo Children’s Club in 2015, it was found that there are 4, 400 street kids in the country’s town and city streets, and only 400 of those are genuinely homeless.
In a day, the beggars can make money between MK4, 000-MK8, 000 on a good day and MK2, 000 on a bad day, on average representing a monthly take home package of over MK150, 000. 00.
The PS said there is total disregard of the provisions of the Child Care and Protection Act which explicitly spells out family duties and responsibilities of the parents.
“As a parent you are supposed to look after your child, you must protect that child from exploitation, abuse and even neglect. You must provide food, clothes and shelter so that the child is taken care of well, allow the children education opportunities. The law is very clear that anyone who neglects a child should be arrested because that person is committing a crime.
“Those who are giving money to beggars on the street will be arrested too because it is against the law to be providing arms on the street,” said Shawa.
Shawa said her Ministry will work hand in hand with Chisomo Children’s Club who are more than ready to absorb the streets kids into their holding facilities.
Executive Director for Chisomo Children’s Club, Charles Gwengwe said there is need to create a huge awareness on the Child Care and Protection Act so that everyone is aware of their duties and responsibilities as a way doing away with street begging.
“If you give them money it means you are pulling them to come next day for another round of begging,” said Gwengwe.
Gwengwe said if people have extra money to spend, the best way is to use the right channel.
“You can even open a trust for the needy,” said Gwengwe.
Of late people have been complaining of growing number of street beggars.
Currently laws of Malawi do not allow street begging.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :