Minister Kalinde visits street kids in Lilongwe

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare Anita Kalinde on Wednesday took her motherly role by visiting street kids at the social welfare rehabilitation centre in Lilongwe and underscored the need to provide them with more support and explore ways of how they can be re-united with their parents.

Kalinde said like any other children, street kids need to enjoy their rights and be protected from all forms of abuse.

“It’s not the wish of these children to be found in the streets but it may be because of the problems they have been encountering,” said Kalinde.

She said government in partnership with other stakeholders will strive to mobilize resources that would help in ensuring that children were removed from the streets and taken back to their parents.

Kalinde: Child rights priority of President Banda government

Kalinde said with the social cash transfer that government introduced as a measure to empower communities her Ministry would be able to ensure that the street kids were take back to their respective homes.

The Minister said she was impressed with the care being given to street kids at the Lilongwe Social welfare rehabilitation centre by the care givers.

“I am impressed with the care you give to these street kids here at the centre,” she said.

She advised the streets kids to lead by example by staying at the rehabilitation centre after they come from school.

Appeal for resources

One of the Child Protection Officers, Chosadziwa Sakwiya however asked government to consider allocating more resources towards rehabilitation activities of the street kids.

He said currently only K115,000 was being allocated towards buying food for the children which he said was not enough to adequately cater for their food and other necessities.

Some of the rehabilitation activities being undertaken by the social welfare include one to one and group counselling, leadership skills, sawing, sporting activities for both girls and boys, scouts and psychosocial support.

Meanwhile over 100,000 street kids have been rehabilitated at the centre.

The street kids are being accommodated at the in transit premises of the social welfare department in Lilongwe which was built in 1987.

It was mostly used by victims from war torn countries like Mozambique that time according to social welfare officials.

Kalinde disclosed that government has plans to remove all children who live and sleep in the streets, but she did not specify the date they will affect the exercise.

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