Ministry of Gender, Disability, Children and Social Welfare has disclosed that over 63 street connected children have been integrated into their communities in country this year.
Chief Social Welfare Officer in Ministry, Enock Bonongwe made the revelation Wednesday during an Advocacy Training Workshop for Media Practitioners on prevention of Children living and working in the Streets of the country which was held at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe.
He said the street connected children were integrated from the three main cities of the country.
“We integrated 35 of them from Lilongwe, 18 from Blantyre and 10 from Mzuzu. They are now back in their communities and are leading the normal life with their families,” Bonongwe pointed out.
He said the integration process has been possible with the help of Non Government Organizations (NGOs) and Civil Societies (CSOs) that dealing with the issues of street connected children like Samaritan Trust, Tikondane Care and Chisomo Children’s Club.
He said the Integration Programme is facing a lot of challenge due to inadequate financial resources which are needed to help the children in their resettling drive.
“As a Ministry we have budgetary allocation of K90 million for the re-integration programme and we received an average K8 million monthly funding for the activities. We feel the budgetary allocation should be increase in order to meet the need of the integrated children,” the Chief Social Welfare suggested.
Bonongwe called for the formulation of a strong CSO policy which could help to reduce the numbers of street connected children in the country’s streets.
He believes strategic partnership involving the government, CSOs and the Media could help counter some of the challenges being faced by street connected children during integration process.
The Officer said political will remain the most cardinal point to contain the current situation of re-integrating street connected children back to their families
Partner Alliance Development (PAD) Facilitator, Willard Manjolo advised the Media to have a keen interest to ensure that the integration process of the street connected children is sustained.
He said the Media need to investigate more on the process and how those that have been integrated are fairing within their communities.
“We need to make follow up on how the children are being handled within their communities and see how sustainable the integration process is. We need to device ways and means of encouraging more street connected children to view the process as a better option to their everyday lives,” Manjolo explained.
Tikaondane Care, Social Work Coordinator, Bridget Chetama said communities need to discourage promoting stigma and discrimination towards street connected children if the programme is to be a success.
She said deprivation of needs and lack of resources and opportunities should be eliminate in order to sustain the programme saying most the children are fleeing their home due to several push factors like domestic violence and neglect by societies.
Eye of the Child with the assistance from Kindernothilfe of Germany funded the Media workshop.
The two a three year partnership project which runs from 2018 to 2022 with the aim of reducing 50 per cent of Children living and working on the streets of Malawi.