The much awaited for symposium on street children has opened in Lusaka, with government, calling for an end to giving of alms to street children.
Community Development and Social Services Minister, Mrs. Doreen Mwamba who graced the occasion said giving of alms to street children is contributing to the sad development.
She said that government has a lot of programmes aimed at removing children from the streets, ranging from provision of social cash transfer, provision of skills training and rehabilitation of children from the streets, enforcement of child protection laws among others.
“This commitment is demonstrated by the introduction of free education to all children irrespective of their social and economic status. This policy, will in the long run contribute to a reduction in the number of children living on the streets as parents and guardians now have an opportunity to take them to school” Mrs. Mwamba observed.
She further warned parents and guardians in the habit of sending children on the streets to stop the practice, saying they will be punished in accordance to the country’s laws.
“The life of a child living on the streets is a very saddening experience as children living on the streets are faced with multiple life threatening situations such as substance and alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, violence, harsh weather conditions, sexually transmitted diseases and for now even covid-19” she said.
Mrs. Mwamba appealed to the public and business houses to instead donate foodstuffs or money to well established child care centers that are looking after vulnerable children countrywide.
Mrs. Mwamba also appealed to all cooperating partners and stakeholders to support sustainable solutions that will help government formulate policy measures and strategies meant to address the problem.