ZANIS COPY-Spar Zambia committed to enhancing children’s welfare -O’Donnell

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Spar Zambia Chairman Mark O’Donnell has observed that children were the most vulnerable people in society hence the need to take good care of them.

Mr. O’Donnell said Spar-Zambia has therefore committed itself to ensuring that every child in Zambia enjoys the right to a good childhood.

He was speaking during the Spar-Zambia and Lifeline-Zambia partnership Childline support media breakfast meeting in Lusaka today.

Mr. O’Donnell said over 23, 000 children use the 116 child helpline every month to discuss different issues ranging from abuse, welfare, neglect and witnessing violence.

He noted that the number of children who call every month has been increasing therefore overwhelming the line.

He said as part of its corporate social responsibility, Spar offers support of about KR150, 000 to Lifeline Zambia every month.

Mr. O’Donnell disclosed that Spar had also rebranded its plastic bags to bear the childline message in a bid to reach many people considering that the store used about two million bags per month.

And Lifeline Zambia president Moses Malunda said more than two thirds of children growing up in Zambia from the age of 1-18 years face some form of sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

Mr. Malunda said it was important for key stakeholders to work together to protect the welfare of children in the country.

He revealed that Lifeline would be conducting door to door campaigns to educate the public on the need to protect children and having zero cases of any form of abuse of children.

Meanwhile, Plan Zambia Country Director Tim Budge has called on other companies to emulate Spar and support the child helpline.

Mr. Budge said the childline would not be successful unless other organisations and corporate entities took the lead and gave back to their communities.

Lifeline Zambia is the pioneer of free 24-hours telephone counselling services in Zambia and has been doing so for the past eight (8) years with the support of various seasonal donors.

It has two numbers, 993, for general complaints from the general public and 116, specifically for children and these numbers are available on all mobile networks in Zambia.

Child helpline was introduced in October 2011 in partnership with Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child, Plan International, Save the Children and UNICEF to complement government’s efforts in promoting the rights of children in Zambia.