New Vision (Kampala)
July 17, 2006
Posted to the web July 18, 2006
KAMPALA City Council will soon pass a bylaw making it a criminal offence to give money and other items to street children, the city probation officer, Dan Mujjukizi, has said.
Mujjukizi said, while the Children’s Act 2000 makes it illegal for children to be on the streets, the people who donate money and food to them were making efforts to relocate the children difficult.
‘We shall soon pass a bylaw to enforce the Children’s Act. Once one is caught donating to children on the streets, they will be charged.’
‘Those who donate to street children make the streets friendly, attracting more children,’ Mujjukizi said. He did not say when the law would be effected.
He expressed concern at the increasing number of children on the streets, adding that though many of them were having problems at their homes, they were being attracted by the donations.
‘Many other people come from poor families, but they do not end up on the streets,’he said.
He advised those willing to help children to do so through the homes established by the government, which include Naguru Reception, Kampiringisa National Rehabilitation Centre and Nsumba Transit Centre.
The other option is for Good Samaritans to work with NGOs that rehabilitate children.
Ritah Nkemba, the managing director of Dwelling Places, a Christian NGO working with children at risk, supports the idea of discouraging donations to street children.
"Some of these children need the money for food, but since you cannot tell a child who is a beggar from one who wants to sniff drugs, it is better not to give money," she said.
She was concerned about the influx of Karimojong children, whom she says are being encouraged by colleagues who enjoy donations from Good Samaritans.