Government has stepped up measures to rid streets of Lusaka and other big towns of street kids and has subsequently called on the members of the public to stop giving handouts to children in the streets. Community Development and Social Services Minister Catherine Namugala said Government’s strategy is based on principles of prevention, rehabilitation and reintegration of all street children.
Ms Namugala said giving money, food and clothes to street children only encouraged them to remain in the streets where boys engaged in crime and girls in prostitution. The Minister said assistance to street children would only make sense if given to an established childcare facility rather than to them while still on the streets.
She called on all Zambians to develop a culture of assisting institutions that cared for children as a way of partnering with Government in solving the problem of street kids.
Ms Namugala was speaking in Lusaka yesterday when she officially launched the Street Children Reintegration Programme and handed over two vehicles to the Social Welfare Departments for Lusaka and Copperbelt Provinces.
She said the Welfare Departments should use the vehicles for the intended purposes of transport and inspecting orphanages and other childcare centres adding that they would have no excuse for not doing so.
Ms Namugala commended all childcare centres for supplementing Government’s efforts in solving the problem of the rising number of street children in the streets, which is posing a great threat to the future of the country.
She, however, urged all people running child care centres not to make business out of the children they cared for adding that their responsibility should be to give them love, care and protection which they could not find in the streets.
Meanwhile, Ms Namugala observed that Members of Parliament (MPs) have a task of sensitising families in their constituencies about the danger of keeping children in the streets.
The Minister noted that through their local Councils, MPs should encourage the extended family system that offers security to orphans and other vulnerable children.
Ms Namugala observed that the cooperation with all stakeholders would greatly enhance Government’s efforts of removing children from the streets and giving them a decent life and education for a better Zambia.