Malawi raising 10,000 children in care centers — Social Welfare

Approximately 10,000 children are being raised in child care centers in the country,  according to Blantyre District Social Welfare Officer (DSWO) Trophina Limbani .

Children receive food at Mphandula Childcare Centre in Namitete 49km west of Lilongwe City

Limbani disclosed this on Friday during a briefing session with Councilors and local leaders on the child Reintegration Programme by government.

“The rapid increase in the number of children in Child Care Institutions (CCI) popularly called children homes in Malawi is an alarming child protection issue,” said Limbani.

She said between 2009 and 2014, the number of children in institutional centers grew by 40 percent and CCIs increased by 62 percent.

Limbani explained that these institutions are refusing to reintegrate the children into their communities once they have turned 18 years old which is contrary to government’s stand on children in CCI.

“Much as we appreciate the role these institutions play in raising up children, there are negative effects of continuously institutionalizing them as they are deprived of their right to an identity and inheritance among others,” said Limbani.

Research Officer at Federation of Disability Organisations of Malawi (FEDOMA), Lyness Manduwa, commended the Reintegration Programme saying it is a protective measure for the children.

“As children are growing, especially those with disabilities, they are prone to abuse by those who take care of them. This is a very big challenge to children with disabilities who do not speak or see as they cannot communicate what is going on,” said Manduwa.

On his part, Councillor Damiano Valaliano of Chikowa Ward said government and child care institutions should take the issue of reintegration very seriously.

“When these children are sent back to their homes, they are helped to reconnect with their relatives and have a sense of belonging,” said Valaliano.

According to the Malawi Government, poverty and lack of education opportunities are the main driving factors for institutionalizing children in the country.

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