Govt calls for adherence to policy on orphans

Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social welfare, Dr Jean Kalilani has appealed to well wishers wishing to assist government in supporting orphans and other venerable children (OVCs) to adhere to national policy.

Kalilani made the call on Friday in Salima on the sidelines of a Cash Transfer distribution amounting to K135 million to 1500 orphans by the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO).

“I am happy that organizations like IIRO are supporting government as it struggles to support over 1.8 million orphans and other vulnerable children, but my plea is that the support should be done in accordance with the national policy, “said Kalilani.

The Minister reiterated that the Nation Policy on supporting OVCs discourages the use of Orphan care centres and street begging.

“We have established that the orphan centres are not the right places to bring up OVCs because they do not provide family love and care as well as good nutrition, it is on this background that the policy encourages that OVCs should be kept by the relations and get assistance right in those homes,” said Kalilani.

She said according to the policy and set laws all guardians found sending OVCs to begging in streets shall be arrested and charged.

The minister explained that on its part government is supporting OVCs and other vulnerable groups through the Malawi Cash Transfer Program popularly known as Mtukula pakhomo.

Kalilani observed that the biggest challenge which OVCs are facing is support for education especially for secondary and tertiary education.

She said government was working on modalities to monitor the use of the cash transfers to ensure that the support is making a difference.

“The transfers that are made today are huge and significant enough to support the orphans in their education and nutrition; as a mother ministry we will monitor the families that have received the transfers and where possible help them with training in small businesses so that they can multiply the money,” said Kalilani.

On his part a representative of International Islamic relief Organization Salah Elbaly said that his organization is supporting OVCs all over the world as a way of empowering the OVCs and increasing their chances of becoming productive citizens.

“The support that we give is for education, health and food, we believe that if the children have good health, education and food they will realize their aspirations,” said Elbaly.

According to Elbaly the orphans receive transfers in various amounts depending on the time of registration.

“The new entries are receiving K45,000 while the older ones are getting up to K600,000 in a single transfer,” he said.

Source: Malawi News Agency