Theatre for a Change (Tfac) has intensified its child protection programme (CPP) by including community policing and bar owners’ support to rescue children under the age of 18 from Malawi bars.
Speaking at Lilongwe Children’s Centre during drama performances, child protection manager for Tfac, Thokozani Chimasula, said teenagers, especially girls, face a lot of problems when they are working in bars or walking around at night.
“That is why we decided to include community policing and bar owners in our CPP’s Alliance for Behaviour Change since the two groups observe exploitation cases children face,” said Chimasula.
She said CPP’s aim is to initiate a behaviour change process among children who are victims of sexual exploitation and child labour and train them with business skills.
“So far, we have managed to rescue 44 children who were sexually exploited in homes and business places and sent them back to secondary schools of Chipasula, Chinsapo and Tsabango,” she said.
However, Chimasula said some of the children stay with them for only a few months before they ran back to the bars to work as sex workers.
“This is mostly because they get money at the bars while here we just train them and convince them to go back to school. We wish we could do more to stop this but we do not have a lot of resources to stop these kids from running back to the bars.”
Lilongwe community policing station executive committee chairperson Rashid Phiri, who attended the ceremony, said he was glad with Tfac initiative.