BY PATRICK MSOWOYA 03:28:41 – 04 September 2006
Hundreds of street children in Lilongwe would from this month benefit from a Scout Extension Project under Gift of Peace where the children, most of them orphans, will receive voluntary education.
Chiefs Commissioner for Scouts Association of Malawi Evans Mphalasa said this on Saturday during launch of the project. He said his association has targeted a number of street kids who will go under formal training aimed at incorporating them back into society.
Mphalasa said during the initial pilot phase for the project, the Scout Association of Malawi intends to identify over 40 children who will be taught life skills under a number of scouts clubs currently operating in the city.
Speaking during the same function, Deputy Director for Children Affairs in the Ministry of Women and Child Development Esmie Kainja said it was unfortunate that orphans go under severe torture and abuse in the homes, a situation she said forces them into the streets.
“Research has shown that orphans continue to be tortured in the homes where most of the times are either beaten now and again or forced to do heavy manual work hence their fleeing into the streets,” said Kainja.
The Scouts movement dates back to the colonial era in the 1960 but was later banned in Malawi during the one party regime. The movement bounced back in the 90s with the blessing of former president Bakili Muluzi. President Bingu wa Mutharika is the movement’s patron.
The Scouts Association of Malawi gets funding from the World Organisation of Scouts Movements based in Geneva, Switzerland and the current project is expected to cost about K500,000.