Lilongwe, Government said presence of childrenon the street must be seen as a developmental challenge as they are conditioned to the life and regard it as normal.
Director for Child Affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Mc Knight Kalanda, said this Monday in Lilongwe during the press briefing ahead of the commemoration of the International Day for Street Children which falls on April 12,2017.
“Let me point out that children who are allowed to stay and live on the streets become conditioned to the life and regard it as normality and are at high risk of drug or alcohol addition, sexual and physical abuse, health problems and being drawn into street gangs,” he explained.
Kalanda added that 60 percent of these children do not go to school and as a result, they do not value any developments government is putting in place, instead they vandalize them.
He advised people in the country to view street children as a welfare issue and not as thieves, criminals, beggars and children without a future because of their vulnerability.
“You are aware that children often end up on the street not by choice but because of the negative circumstances in which they unwillingly find themselves,” the director said.
Kalanda pointed out that government through his ministry, developed the national strategy on children living and working on the streets to coordinate different interventions for the promotion of the rights and welfare of vulnerable children especially those in the streets.
He said government is also in the process of developing a policy for street-connected children in Malawi in responding to the many challenges that these children face.
Director of programmes, Chisomi Children’s Club, Clement Silungwe said over 150 million children across the world lives in the streets.
He said here in Malawi, despite the efforts by government and other partners to end street life-cycle, the challenge is still there as the number of children living in the streets still grows in all the four major cities in the country as he attributed the challenge to lack of resources.
The event has being organized to join hands to end up the street-life cycle taking on Malawi’s theme “Lets join hands to end street-life cycle” and the international theme ” This is my time. Will you stand with me?”
During the commemoration, the United Nations (UN) will make a general comment on children in street situation which would be a set of guidelines that governments around the world will use the information they need to make sure street children’s rights are recognized.
Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA