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Stop giving alms to street children, they will stay home, says official

If  people stop giving alms to street children they will be discouraged from living in the streets, says Busia County Director of Children’s Services, Esther  Wasige.

Wasige said the support the children get from people who offer alms and food acts as a pull factor, encouraging more and more children to go to the streets.

“We want the streets to be as hostile as possible so that all children can stay at home,” she said.

Noting that the best place for children to grow in was in a family set up, the director said her department will work closely with NGOs in the process of tracing and reintegrating street children with their families to keep them away from the streets.

“We are also looking forward to having a rescue Centre so that children affected by other forms of abuses can be placed temporarily as we look for solutions to their problems,” she said.

Speaking during a stakeholder’s forum in Busia on Monday, the official appreciated the County government for demonstrating goodwill in establishing a rescue Centre but urged other well-wishers to support the initiative.

Addressing the same forum, George Mara, from Street Family Trust Fund Board said that street families is a big challenge that should not be left to security officers and the Trust Fund alone.

“We want to encourage everybody including faith based institutions and other well-wishers to come and help us tackle this problem by giving us their views and we will collaborate with them,” he said.

Mara blamed the erosion of traditional African values on the upsurge of street families across the county adding that there is need to restore the values so that children are brought up in the family unit.

He advised Charitable Children Institutions to come up with clear strategies of rescuing, rehabilitating, socializing and exiting children from their facilities adding that it is the plan of the government that children are brought up within the family set up.

He at the same time urged the County Government to establish a rescue Centre, adding: “Most of these children come from Uganda to look for food through begging while some of them are used by businessmen to smuggle goods.”

Wasige  expressed confidence that the Street Family’s Rehabilitation Fund has come in handy and will help solve the problem.

“We have started by mapping out partners and we will work closely with the County government to ensure that such children are assisted,” she said.

The team visited the County to collect views from stakeholders on street families with a view to formulate a policy that will inform and govern the affairs of street families across the country.

By  Salome  Alwanda

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