The Gender Principal Secretary (PS), Safina Kwekwe Tsungu has asked parents in the Coast region to stop using poverty as an excuse for abdicating their parental duties.
She said parents did not require material wealth to properly guide their children to be morally upright and blamed parents for the vices of early pregnancies, drug abuse and child labour in the region.
“Since when did poverty become a ticket or licence for you to abdicate your role as parents,” she posed during celebrations to mark the International Youth Week at the Mapimo Vocational Training Centre in Magarini Constituency of Kilifi County on Friday.
The PS lamented that some parents had encouraged their children to abandon school and engage in child labour in order to assist them provide food, a vice that had escalated the problem of pregnancies among young girls.
She said it was shameful that Kilifi County had been ranked among counties leading in teenage pregnancies in the country and called for concerted efforts to stop the menace.
Ms. Tsungu asked parents to take their children to Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) centres as well as vocational training centres (VTCs) to enable them acquire technical skills and help build the nation.
She noted that the government was paying Sh.30,000 for every TVET student and loans of up to Sh.40,000 from the Higher Education Loans Board.
“There is therefore no reason why form four leavers should remain at home when the government has subsidized technical training,” she said.
She said the government had initiated many projects and provided various funding avenues to enable young people to become useful citizens and urged parents to take up their responsibilities seriously for greater achievements.
“The government is providing free day secondary school, has initiated holiday talent academies and provided funds such as the Youth Enterprise Development Fund, the National Government Affirmative Action Fund and Uwezo Fund among other to benefit the youth,” she said.
The Magarini MP, Michael Kingi said there was need to start counselling services in youth empowerment centres with a view to addressing early pregnancies.
I urge the managers of the youth empowerment centres to start offering counselling services in addition to allowing the youth to access information through the internet free of charge,” he said.
The PS had earlier opened the Magarini Youth Empowerment Centre within the compound of the Mapipo Vocational Training Centre.
By Emmanuel Masha