The increase in the number of street children has become a cause for concern for Mangochi District Council considering that most of the children engage in crime and child prostitution.
Mangochi Social Welfare Assistant Officer, Harvey Mbwezo, made the observation last week during a court users committee meeting.
He said the social welfare sector in liaison with the police in the district have noticed an unprecedented increase in the number of street children.
Mbwezo said the department would ensure the trend is reversed by disseminating information on the rights of children particularly those in the streets and the type of abuses they are subjected to.
“We have child protection workers whose responsibility is to receive cases of children who have been abandoned or are being raised by an elderly person or an incapacitated person who cannot manage to fend for themselves,” he said.
Mbwezo said the social cash transfer scheme which government introduced is meant to strengthen less privileged households so that children from such families could go to school.
“To stop street children from going back to the street and also reduce illiteracy levels in the district, the social cash transfer provides school fees, school uniform and learning materials to children from the social cash transfer scheme beneficiary households,” he said.
Mbwezo added that the government social protection programme ensures that children are brought up in a family–like environment in order for them to enjoy their rights and be encouraged to realize their full potential.
“We are working with different organizations which have established places where such children meet especially those who are between the age of 6 and 18 so that they play and learn a lot of things and also share experiences,” he said.