By Mike Gwadani
High Court Judge Justice Fiona Mwale has urged Malawi government and the community to put in place viable policies and strategies that are aimed at addressing that the plight of of children living or working on streets.
She made the remarks during the lunch of a day long advocacy media workshop held at cross roads hotel in Lilongwe.
She said there was need to explore means and ways that the government and community at large can play in solving the problems of street children in the country.
“If we are going to raise awareness and stimulate debate, we need to highlight the key factors contributing towards the phenomenon of street children and make the duty bearers responsible for the breakdown or poor state of those factors accountable we need to equip the children their families and their communities to demand their rights”, she said.
Mwale further said the local media should write stories that raise awareness on the plight of children living or Workin on the Street.
She added that the media can play a major role in eradicating the vice and also highlighting the gains that have been made by stakeholders.
“If the country is to make any meaningful strides then the media should be on the fore front in sensitizing the general public on how the children end up on the streets because not all street children are orphans some are there due to dysfunctional families”, said Mwale.
She therefore called on the general public to stop branding children living or working on the streets as criminals.
In his remarks, Eye Of the Child Executive Director Maxwell Matewere said the workshop was one of the series of activities that his organisation has lined as part of the a three year project which is being funded by German based organisation known as Kindernothilfe (KNH) aimed at reducing children living or walking on the streets by 50 percent by the 2020.
“The overall objective is response and action against children living on the street in the targeted districts increased based on the implementation of the National Strategy”, She said.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Gender,Disability, Children and Social Welfare about 5,000 children lives or are working in the streets.
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