Blantyre City Council (BCC) on Thursday engaged its partners to discuss the welfare of street kids in the city.
The partners including Malawi Human Rights Commission, Office of the Ombudsman, Step Kids Awareness (Steka), Samaritan Trust, Agape House and the business community such as the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), National Bank of Malawi, Capital Oil Limited and Bata Shoe Company, agreed on the need to work together to clear the city’s streets off the kids.
Blantyre City Mayor Wild Ndipo said the number of street children was increasing each day.
“We can all do something to give these children a future other than the alms we give them everyday. They will one day turn into adults and become notorious criminals if we choose to neglect them.
“In the past, we tried to engage the police, but that did not work because the whole project lacked a proper strategy,” he said.
Steka executive director Godknows Maseko emphasised on the need to engage the children and motivate them to understand their right to education and protection.
“We need to show them love so that they don’t feel rejected by society. A lot more things need to be done to intergrate these children into society, including psycho-social counselling, financial support to children’s homes as well as the immediate families they are integrated into,” he said.
Aside from the streets being a breeding area for criminals, the stakeholders also echoed some of the challenges the kids face on the street such as sexual harassment, hunger, depression and various forms of abuse including physical assault.
According to Samaritan Trust executive director, Margaret Mukwenha, Blantyre City has an estimated 5 000 registered street kids.n