—-The Ministry of Gender and Child Development has disclosed that many children who are considered as street kids on the streets of Lusaka have parents and guardians but are forced to beg on the streets because of poverty in their homes.
Chief Child Development Officer, Lackson Chipampi, told ZANIS that his ministry has discovered that many children from hunger stricken homes disguise as street children and beg on the streets of Lusaka in order to earn a living.
Mr Chipampi stated that government has introduced drop in centres for street kids who are below the age of 18 so that they can be rehabilitated and reintegrated to their homes.
Mr Chapampi, however, noted that many of the children who are reintegrated back to their homes end up returning to the streets because of poverty hence the decision by government to introduce an
empowerment programme for parents of street kids so that they can have means of taking care of their children.
He said government is spending huge sums of money on empowering parents of children who run away from home with entrepreneurial skills so that they are lifted from poverty.
He disclosed that his ministry in partnership with various stakeholders who run private drop in centres in Lusaka has been picking children from streets and screens them in order to identify their parents or guardians who they train and empower with financial aid before returning the children to their homes.
He disclosed that the government-run Chikumbi Children’s Centre has 21 children this week while other centres such as the Fountain of Hope, Mutuzi, Vision of Hope and others that receive grant from government were also keeping children who are expected to be reintegrated to their various homes.
Meanwhile Mr Chipampi said government has not abandoned the skills empowerment programme for street kinds through the Zambia National Service (ZNS) camps.
Mr Chipampi said following the realignment of the ministries, the skills empowerment programme for street kids has been taken up by the Ministry of Youth and Sports while the Ministry of Gender is only
handling street kids who are below the age of 18.
He said the two ZNS camps in Kitwe and Katete are still training street kids in various skills so that they can be self-sustainable upon graduation from the centres.
He said government has taken this decision because youth above the age of 18 require skills to enable them work on their own to earn a living while those below the age of 18 need their parents and
guardians to be empowered so that there is no hunger in their homes.
Zambia is one of the countries in Southern African which are faced with the challenge of street kids especially in urban areas.