By Banthu Reporter 19/11/2013
Principal Secretary for Gender, Children and Welfare Dr. Marry Shawa has said most of the street kids that hang around town are not orphans and that there is need to approach parents of these children to keep them out of streets.
This comes after some street kinds violently attacked a girl on 12 November when she was locking a shop she works in around five o’clock at Malangalanga in Lilongwe.
Shawa said there is need to encourage parents of these children to keep their children in schools instead of streets.
“If parents of these children are encouraged to keep their children in schools they would contribute to the economy and literacy development levels of the country when they are educated and provide for themselves in future.
“My ministry has been targeting these parents from different locations like Mgona and Mtsiliza but so far it has not yielded anything because most of these children are sent by their own parents to beg the streets,” said Shawa.
She said some of them are even sent by an older person to beg or steal from people around town and they are protected by the same people who send them.
Shawa explained that despite her ministry’s effort to continuously sweep the kids off the streets into rehabilitation centers, there is always a new group of street kids that come every day.
The Principal Secretary further said that her Ministry has physically fetched these children from different locations in the country and placed them in rehabilitation centers.
“When they are put into rehabilitation centers, some want to go back home and some even ran away from centers, at the end of the day you find them back in the streets causing trouble. If given a chance to go back to school some are even chased away because they are violent in schools,” she said.
Commenting on the same, Lilongwe police publicist Ramsy Mushani said the police help keep peace of the streets by detaining these young offenders when they are found causing trouble.
He said most street kids are aged between 9 and 15 and they come to town to do different things such as begging, stealing and even beating people when they are not given anything they ask for
“Some street kids have their parents with them in town that beg and some sell bananas and they seem not to care about whether their children are in town instead of being at school,” he said.
According to Mushani the four boys who attacked the girl were convicted under the penal code 181 breach of conduct to cause peace.
He also said those that are a little older are taken to court but those that are very young are just kept at the police for a few days.
“We do not have a proper place at the moment that we can keep these street kids when they commit crimes, but they are kept in police custody until the day they appear before the court and those underage are taken to rehabilitation centers,” he said.
He added that the courts are the ones that decide where to put these kids when they are convicted.