By Solister Mogha
Zomba, October 25, Mana: Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati has asked the police in the country to move swiftly and arrest parents or guardians of street children.
Kaliati was speaking at Chilwa Reformatory Centre in Zomba on Friday when she received a donation of assorted items from Open Connect, a telecommunication company.
She said she was saddened with an increasing number of streets children in the country’s streets especially those that have both a home and parents.
Kaliati said street children pose a danger to people’s lives as most of the times, they aim at killing, stealing or cause serious damage to ones life.
“We must protect lives of Malawians; we have, for a long time, tried to take street kids out of our streets but our efforts seem not to have yielded anything.
“We will use another strategy which is arresting parents or guardians of street children because we are pretty sure they are the ones sending these children to the streets,” Kaliati said.
She also said parents need to be responsible for their children, noting that letting children go and loiter around town or streets is a sign or irresponsible parenting which cannot be tolerated.
Kaliati said apart from arresting parents and guardians, the ministry in conjunction with the police will take all orphans in streets to reformatory centres where security would be intensified so that none of the children returns to the streets.
“A better nation takes care of the future generation; we cannot sit back and relax when we have a section of future generations being spoiled.
These children need to be taken to our centres and be given all the support including education,” she said.
Kaliati, therefore, commended Open Connect for rescuing Chilwa Reformatory Centre, saying the facility is one of the forgotten places.
She said the assistance will go a long way in improving the lives of children at the centre while improving education and operations of the centre.
“Reformatory centres are some of the neglected institutions; very few consider supporting these facilities. I would, therefore, like to commend Open Connect Malawi for its decision to support the centre,” she added.
She, however, appealed to other companies to emulate the example set by Open Connect.
Chief Executive Officer for Open Connect, Sandile Dhlomo said the company decided to donate to the centre upon realizing that the future of the country rests in the hands of young people including those in reformatory centres.
Dhlomo said children in the reformatory centres are not condemned as such, they too deserve proper care and the best opportunities in life.
“Considering that we’re a company that deals with technology, we believe in youth who have the potential to transform our nation through technology. It is important, therefore, that we support them regardless of their situation,” Dhlomo said.
Principal for Chilwa Reformatory Centre, Moffat Hara said the institution faces a number of challenges such as poor infrastructure, shortage of staff as well as lack of teaching and learning materials which emanates from insufficient funding.
Hara, however, hailed Open Connect for the donation, saying the support would assist the institution to address some of its challenges.
Open Connect donated such items like computers, 10 bags of maize, cooking oil, note books, clothes and shoes.
Chilwa Reformatory Centre has a capacity to accommodate 180 children but currently, it is home to 30 children for committing various offences including murder.