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Children still on Kampala streets

FILE PHOTO: Street children

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kampala streets are still teaming with children, despite recent efforts by the Gender, Labor and Social Development Ministry to evict them.

Small groups of children still brave the cold and drizzle to beg on the streets of Kampala. Children of all ages can be seen begging money from motorists and pedestrians along Jinja Road, Lumum Street and Wandegeya.

Peter Kaujju, the KCCA spokesperson says plans are under way to evict the street children this week.

Once the children are evicted from the streets, they will be sent to Kampiringisa Rehabilitation Center for screening. They will also undergo medical tests and determine their age for placement in private homes.

Damon Kawamara, the Country Director of Dwelling Places, says that preparations are still ongoing to remove the children. “Meetings are still ongoing to rescue the children. This campaign is going to big since many organisations are concerned and proper planning is needed to make it a success,” he said.

According to Kawamara, the rescue is going to target children of all ages living and working on the streets of Kampala and other towns like Mbale, Jinja and Soroti.

The campaign that was launched last week aims at removing more than five thousand children off the streets of major towns in the country.

A study carried out by Retrak and Dwelling Places in 2017 showed that over 18000 children live and work on the streets of Uganda.

According to the Gender Ministry, the campaign this time round is aimed at convincing the children to leave the streets rather than force them off as has been in previous campaigns.

While addressing the media last week, the minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs, Florence Nakiwala, said that they have talked to these children and now know what they want.

This time round the ministry has got support from bodies like the Federation of Uganda Football Association- FUFA that will train the children.

The sports body is going to provide coaches to train children. Those with potential will be attached to soccer academies with the help of FUFA.

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One comment

  1. There are various categories of street children and therefore there isn’t any one off solution. the three categories are usually a manifestation of disruption in their lives mostly due to push and pull factors or drivers. Therefore, I laughed and scoffed when I read that after officials talked to the street children ” they now know what they want”. That has around 10% truth only, the rest wolokoso. my involvement with street children has revealed empirically that it depends on the child, the circumstances (push or pull drivers) and the interaction with interveners especially law enforcement as well as the “do gooders” in the photos seated in cars. they are part of the solution and also most of the problem. Sometimes street children rescue and rehabilitation can take just days, but usually gradual reintegration into normal life routines (living with a caregiver or family and going to school) takes up to sometimes 1 to 9 months and even in some cases like in Lira, can even fail to the extent that the street children become street men! Street girls is another story! I am sure the experts in Retrak and CRO can attest to this. MoGLSD and KCCA intervention I am sorry to say is knee jerk response. Money is not the problem. Only part of it. This also is not the best way to spend those resources because precedent is glaring. I am not a betting person, but those children will be there even next year as long as Ugandans are procreating and abandoning their parental responsibilities and do gooders are in cars and there are jams and stop lights. Check the figures, there were 8,000 street children in 2009, now they are estimating 18,000 in 2017, Close analysis of the National census 2014 reported floating population of 500,000, suggests in my view that they (street children) are closer to 21,000.

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