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Children’s right to health infringed

2022-07-14  Paheja Siririka

Children’s right to health infringed

Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare Minister Doreen Sioka said the phenomenon of children on the streets is a growing international concern. 

The number of children on the streets is on the increase, especially in urban areas. Children living and working on the streets have limited accessibility to durable shelter, clean water, nutritious food, quality healthcare, and physical and psychological protection. 

She said this recently during her visit at Farm Kaukurus (Luisenthal) in Omaheke, which her ministry aims to turn into a camp that will offer psychosocial support for street kids. 

“Children face many vulnerabilities on the streets, especially from being exposed to the harsh conditions. Although children on the streets are predominantly boys, the number of girls is rising, with some children age ranging between 12 to 16 years,” she expressed.

The social welfare ministry has developed a case management system where they envision an opportunity, which will create responsive systems to identify and work through the complicated dynamics affecting children. 

In 2017, the National Strategy for Children Living and Working on the Streets was drafted to promote solidarity by creating awareness and mobilising collective efforts and resources to protect and support them.

“The reasons why children are on the streets are manifold, including family breakdown, abuse and neglect at home, sensation seeking, peer pressure, poverty, rural-urban migration, low educational level of the family and the declining role of extended families,” stated Sioka.

Member of the Children’s Parliament Rivaldo Kavanga, recently penned an opinion piece in this publication, citing economic and social problems are the reason some children opt to live on the streets.

“Their daily routine includes searching for food in rubbish bins, begging for money, looking for scrap metals to sell, and going to bed in riverbeds or under bridges,” stated Kavanga.

He said: “Although Namibia has made profuse advancements in realising the rights of children, there has been a void in realising the rights of children living on the streets and those subjected to child labour. Poverty, economic inequality and abuse exacerbate the injustices children face, and set back efforts to realise the rights of all children.”

2022-07-14  Paheja Siririka

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