News / Africa

Malawi Aims to Rid Cities of Street Children

A boy displays boiled rats for sale on the main highway in Malawi's capital Lilongwe June 20, 2009.
A boy displays boiled rats for sale on the main highway in Malawi's capital Lilongwe June 20, 2009.
Lameck Masina
Malawi's government has embarked on a nationwide exercise to rid the major cities and towns of street children.

Government authorities say the move is part of "A Home for Every Child" campaign launched last July which seeks to ensure that every child has a home.

“The reason why we launched that campaign is because we have noted that the number of street children is increasing by the day," explained Mary Shawa, the principal secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare. "And therefore, we felt it’s within our mandate to go out and get those street children and find out why they are in the street.”

Describing the findings, Shawa said some orphans have nowhere to go.

"There are those who are in the streets because their parents have sent them to beg to supplement family income.  There is another group who are being used by a gang of thieves as a tool or bet for begging.  And then there are those that are hired by handicapped street beggars as guides," she explained.

According to Shawa, these children can become a menace to society, especially at night when many of them turn into criminals.
 
While some children are put into reformatory centers, she said others are returned to their homes, from where they will attend school and hopefully become better Malawi citizens.

She said so far the number moved has increased from 14 to 160.

However, Shawa conceded that the exercise is not without challenges, as some children resist being taken off the streets.

“Those who are resisting are the hard core thieves who are taught how to steal, and they believe they cannot go back to their homes or the places we are taking them to," she noted.  "And if we will find the hard core, the case will be opened and they will go through normal legal system and they will be taken to Mpemba and Chirwa [juvenile prisons].”

Critics oppose the strategy, saying it has left out parents and guardians who they say need to be a focal point in child care.

“We have to approach the guardians and find out why they allowed children into the streets," stressed Godknows Maseko, the executive director of Step Kids Awareness, a non-governmental organization that rehabilitates street children.

"If we find out the problem, maybe parents may need psychosocial counseling," he added. "Then we have to find a place where we are going to keep those children while we are doing the psychosocial counseling because psychosocial counseling to a guardian can take one or two months for them to understand what they can do to take care of the children.”

Mary Shawa says parents who let their children into the streets will be punished in line with the just passed Child Care, Protection and Justice Law, which aims to protect children.

The Malawi Poverty and Vulnerability Assessment shows that over 60 percent of Malawians live below the poverty line of $2 a day, while 22 percent of them are ultra poor, living below 10 cents a day - a situation which often forces children into the street to supplement their families’ incomes.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukraine PM Warns Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jasper
January 18, 2013 11:03 AM
What a pitiful sight to see, shocking. However Malawi is not the
only Country, Zimbabwe is another Country about which much can
be written of the mayhem and collapse of agriculture and the causes, including poverty etc. However the Press, journalists themselves, have to be extremely careful of what they say and do.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid