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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid