Growing army destitutes alarming, House told

Growing army destitutes alarming, House told
Dailynews Reporter
Daily News; Thursday,July 03, 2008 @00:02

Over half of the parents residing along Mahita Street in Morogoro Municipality engage their children in street begging to earn a living. The Deputy Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children, Dr Lucy Nkya, revealed in the National Assembly yesterday that the facts were revealed in a survey conducted in the area recently.

"Some 60 per cent of the parents interviewed admitted that they send their children to streets to beg and bring back to them what they got," she said when answering Special Seats Legislator, Mrs Kidawa Hamid Saleh (CCM) who expressed concern over the practice.

Mrs Saleh said street begging was humiliating to children and called for stern measures against such parents. The deputy minister who attributed the problem to poverty said the government was working on the matter. Mrs Saleh had also wanted to know reasons that drove people into the streets and the rising number of the so-called street kids.

She said the government had no official statistics on the magnitude of the problem, although a number of studies that covered selected areas and for different purposes were conducted by various government institutions, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and religious institutions.

Dr Nkya said currently her ministry was negotiating with the International Consortium for Street Children of the UK through the British High Commission in Dar es Salaam to carry out a nation-wide study to establish the extent of the problem. "Findings of the studies will help the government develop a sustainable programme of solving the problem," she said.


What pushes children into urban streets?

What pushes children into urban streets?
2007-07-29 10:33:54
By Peter Mwangu

Rajabu Wajabu born in Tabora region 27 years ago now calls himself a \"street dweller\" after several years of living as a street child. “I have already lived in the streets for about 14 years consecutively in Mwanza, Tabora, Kigoma and Dodoma regions.“ he said.

“The life of hardship in my family is what forced me out into the streets with no one to guide me through in my daily undertakings. He said his father travelled to unknown destination abandoning them with his mother.

“Despite being a child, I had to tirelessly do casual jobs to make the ends meet, balancing both school life as a pupil and as a sole provider of our family needs before I decided to accept the defeat (drop school life). After deciding to drop out of school while in standard three, I opted to sell groundnuts, boiled eggs, handkerchiefs, washing peoples\’ cars and other petty activities so as to support my needy family.

I resorted to being a street child,“ said the hapless Wajabu. At the moment, Rajabu is self employed as a shoe shiner where he can earn his daily bread but life isn\’t that easy since he is constantly confronted by the tough street conditions including missing a permanent work station.

“You can\’t believe that I don\’t have a place to sleep. When night falls, I simply walk around the city center streets till late night before looking for a convenient pavement for a short sleep,\" he added.

He however said that smoking marijuana is part and parcel of a street life and the street children believe that through the habit they are able to beat stress.

“The society has to know for sure that no one would wish to run away from his parents or guardians and start a new life on his own in a place full of confrontation, hardships and sufferings“ he claimed. He said that many of the street children decide to be what they are due to difficulties faced back at their villages.

“Listen! The difficulties we face in the street are the results of negligence of Government officials and our parents, calling policy makers to ensure street children are assisted. �� the government has lots of programmes that if well used can help reduce poverty but nothing is being done in reality.

“If parents at the villages are not able to provide basic needs to their children, how do you expect these children to remain idle and keep on enveloped under the out dated doctrines and customs.

Here I am working as a shoe shiner earning not more than 1,500/- a day, how do you expect me to budget with this small amount of money to meet all my basic needs like food, housing clothes and medication,“ “See that kid!… pointing at a young boy holding a tray of boiled eggs for sell��“the eggs he is selling belong to someone else, but because of his age, no one will disturb him. If the same work could have been done by an adult, he /she could have ended in court.

The influx of street children rural areas in our country will continue to intensify until the Government changes its policies towards economically empowering its people especially the rural dwellers,“ he commented.

Siouxland Organization Building Orphanage in Tanzania

Siouxland Organization Building Orphanage in Tanzania Click For Video!

Nai Laizer is visiting Siouxland to learn more about medicine. She’s a nurse who takes care of five orphan children in Tanzania and feels strongly about a new orphanage there.

Nai Laizer, Arusha, Tanzania, says "We need it because we have a lot of sick children. They have no hope, they have no life and some of them don’t even know where they come from. You can ask them their last names and they don’t know, you can ask them their age,they don’t know."

That’s why STEMM, a Siouxland group that does charity work in Tanzania, wants to build an orphanage.

Gayle Stroschein, STEMM Board Member, says "We’ve been eye-witnesses to the homeless children over there. They have no parents, they have no family. They’re running the streets and begging because they have no homes."

Lee Harding, STEMM Board Member, says "The street children just sort of hunger for companionship for a mother and a father, you could simply just go and put your arms around a child and let them know that they’re loved."

Stroschein says "So, being eye-witnesses to that, STEMM made it a goal to build an orphanage and have a chance for a future."

About 20 STEMM members will travel to Tanzania next month to buy 90 acres of land for the orphanage. And while there are other orphanages in Tanzania, most are over-crowded.

Stroschein says "What they’ll do if they take in a child and they do not have room for it, meaning they don’t have enough food for it. They’ll send the oldest child on the street which may be a four to six year old running the streets."

STEMM’s orphanage will house about 80 children at first, with the potential to grow.

Laizer says "I just thank god to have people thinking about my country. Instead of coming to my country and enjoying seeing lions or giraffes they come here to help children and help needy people."

The goal is to have a new place for Tanzanian children to call home by the end of this year.

STEMM wants to raise a million dollars to build and staff the orphanage. So far, they’ve raised a quarter of a million dollars which pays for the land. If you’d like to become involved in STEMM’s efforts, give them a call at (712) 258-8282 or call Lee Harding at (712) 539-2848.


Some of the children at the Mgolole Orphanage in Tanzania are orphans because their parents died of AIDS. SARAH HOFIUS / STAFF PHOTO
Some of the children at the Mgolole Orphanage in Tanzania are orphans because their parents died of AIDS. SARAH HOFIUS / STAFF PHOTO

KAMPALA, Uganda — After eight years at the Little Sisters of St. Francis rehabilitation center for street children, Cecilia Nakubulwa knows what the next step is.

The 16-year-old wants to go to medical school and become a doctor.

Despite being an orphan. Despite the many obstacles she knows she’ll have to overcome.

Cecilia wants to take care of others, like the Catholic sisters took care of her.

A short drive away, at the Missionaries of Charity, Sisters of Mother Teresa’s Home of Mercy, care is given to 33 people suffering from AIDS, other diseases and physical disabilities.

A young boy named Peter Joseph opens the front gate, and when visitors enter, a little boy named Alex says “welcome” and waves.

Even under the gravest of conditions — AIDS, malaria and impoverishment — hope in Africa is abundant. The Catholic sisters say without hope, they have nothing.

The room at the Home of Mercy, which has few furnishings except for cribs, metal-frame beds and a poster of the alphabet on the wall, is full of children. Flies swarm on their faces. Many are not physically able to swat them away. In the corner of another building, a 20-something man with an active mind is forced to lie in bed because of a spinal cord injury.

At the Nsambya Babies Home in Kampala, the nuns care for 24 infants and toddlers — including abandoned children only days old.

Seeing such despair on a regular basis is trying.

“You cannot enjoy your religious life when behind it, things are not going well,” said Sister Jacinthe Tumwiine, of the Association of Religious in Uganda.

A spiritual renewal course is offered for the Little Sisters of St. Francis. Some sisters are given the option of taking a sabbatical. The rate of burnout among nuns was high before those options were available, Sister Delphine Njeri, of Jinga, Uganda, said.

“We do get depressed and discouraged, but one thing, we have each other,” Sister Pauline Namuddu, chairwoman of the Association of Religious in Uganda, said. “I think it’s faith that helps us do this because it’s not a human power.”

As overseer of the street children’s rehabilitation center, Sister Mary Alma has seen children make progress, but then turn back to the street. The life of stealing, begging and sometimes drug addition is hard to break.

The children are given the opportunity to attend school. They also learn how to tailor clothes and how to farm organically at the center, which overlooks the Kampala skyline.

For many, Sister Alma is the only mother figure they will ever know.

As an orphan, Cecilia found refuge at the center eight years ago.

“I had no people to take care of me,” she said.

That is why the sisters stepped in.

“That is our responsibility … to take care of the poor and needy,” Sister Namuddu said. “We don’t work for benefit or pay. We try to empower those people to give them hope. We give a future to these children.”

The sisters have big plans for the future, including learning how to better counsel AIDS victims and families.

“How do you show them, despite the condition they’re in, how God loves them?” Sister Tumwiine said.

Education remains a key for progress.

“You educate them to get a job so they become self-reliant. We train them in something and let them take care of themselves,” Sister Namuddu said.

At the Bigwa Sisters Secondary School in Morogoro, Tanzania, the chance for a better future motivates the 342 students to work hard.

Sisters hope schools similar to Bigwa will continue to make an impact.

The African Sisters Education Collaborative is also a source of hope for African nuns. The collaborative, started by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Marywood University, as well as three other Pennsylvania congregations and their colleges, is offering computer training and leadership skills development to African sisters. The training will hopefully enable the sisters in their ministries.

While the sisters are dedicated to remaking the continent one life at a time, the hope of Africa is left in the hands of the people, including the AIDS patients, refugees and street children.

The street will always be there, waiting. But Cecilia, the teenager who wants to be a doctor, has already moved on.

Tanzania: Council Embarks On Exercise to Round Up Beggars and Street Kids

Tanzania: Council Embarks On Exercise to Round Up Beggars and Street Kids

Innocent Kisanga

The Arusha Municipal Council has embarked on a continuous exercise to clear Arusha’s major streets of beggars and street children and repatriate them to their home villages.

Following last week operation conducted by municipal militia , some of the major streets such as Sokoine and the East Africa Community roads had very few adult beggars but street children could be seen roaming and begging as usual.

According to the Arusha municipality public relations officer, Elias Malima, this exercise is done repeatedly to make sure the streets remain clear without beggars or street kids who disturb pedestrians and motorists by asking them money.

Earlier attempts to round up adult beggars and street children have not been successful as they normally return to their street bases within a couple of weeks.

In December last year more than 300 beggars were sent back to their home villages but up to mid January this year most of them were back in Arusha and begging as usual with glee and relish.

Tanzania street kid’s Norfolk joy

Tanzania street kid’s Norfolk joy

Former Tanzania street child Sospeter Okoth.
Former Tanzania street child Sospeter Okoth.

04 January 2007

HE has endured unimaginable difficulties as a street child fending for himself in Tanzania – but last weekend young Sospeter Okoth was “man of the match” as a special guest of Norwich City FC.

By the time he was nine, both of his parents had died from Aids, and Sospeter was forced to fend for himself, begging for scraps as he made his away across the fourth poorest nation in the world in search of an education.

That was until he came to the notice of Norfolk-based charity Street Child Rescue Tanzania, whose founder Vicky Robertson paid for a secondary-school education in which he has so far excelled.

Now 21, Sospeter is about to start his A-levels in Tanzania, runs a boarding house for the charity where he looks after 10 former street children, and finds time to play football for a team in the equivalent of the English Championship.

For the last month, he has been in south Norfolk as the guest of Mrs Robertson, where he has spent time at Langley School in Loddon, Diss High School, UEA and St John’s College, Cambridge.

“It is so rich here and poor back home and the reason is that everything has come from education,” said Sospeter.

“If everyone had the same standard of education in Tanzania things could be so different.

“I’ve come here to improve my English; I want to return and study law here after my A-levels so I can then return to Tanzania, be respected and eventually become a politician and change things there for street children.”

Mrs Robertson, who set up the charity four years ago and now helps a series of teenagers by giving them the opportunity to pursue a secondary school education, said she had been overwhelmed by the response of people who had met Sospeter.

She said pupils at Langley School had gone out of their way to make him feel welcome and were now determined to raise money for Sospeter and other street children.

But the highlight of the visit came on Saturday, when Sospeter was Bryan Gunn’s guest of honour at Carrow Road, featured in the programme and met all the players – inspiring them to their 1-0 victory over QPR.

“They gave me a shirt with my name on, showed me around and treated me like a king,” said Sospeter. “It was a wonderful day.”

Children of Amani

Children of Amani
Amani is the Swahili word for Peace.
Amani Children’s Home is dedicated to the protection of Tanzania’s most vulnerable population: street-children and AIDS orphans.

Since its founding by local Tanzanians in 2001, Amani Children’s Home has rescued over 210 children from the perils of life on the streets, where children face a high risk of HIV transmission and malnutrition.

Amani welcomes donations from all who want to help us give these precious children a haven from starvation and abuse and a chance for a brighter future.
video compiled by Stefanie Carmichael

Need to rescue children from streets

Need to rescue children from streets
2006-07-15 09:57:12
By Elvis Ng`andwe

Street children in urban-based areas can leave one with touching feelings.

I felt bad while passing along different streets of Arusha recently, as I noticed children wandering aimlessly, begging money from passers-by, especially tourists.

Having observed the situation I asked myself the following question. ’Whose responsibility is this, and how can we limit the number of children coming to the streets everyday?

I am optimistic that such children rarely enjoy the privileges stipulated and declared by the universal declaration of human rights.

Such rights are also reflected in the different constitutions of different countries.

I ask myself. Do these children have the same rights as other children in our different homes?

By the way, where do these kids come from? Don’t they have families and relatives?

Same ideas takes me back to early 1980s when I was a little kid, where it was very rare to children walking along urban centres aimlessly.

Now it has become a normal phenomenon to meet street kids all over the Sub-Saharan Africa.

Though the State has a duty to make sure that the human rights together with the children’s rights inclusive are well upheld, the community at large ought to discourage children from seeking life along the streets.

Whenever we speak of children’s rights, we also speak of duties that parents have to help in making them grow under the support from their parents, relatives and of course, government.

Some States have run away from their basic responsibility to care for the citizens, by simply privatizing the duties of the state.

Though Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have been established to address the problem of the street children, it is sad to say that some of them have remained to be inefficient.

They have forgotten their primary obligation to the society, and use the NGO’S as an umbrella of accumulating wealth.

One may argue that everyone has a right to have children as he/she wishes, all should remember that parents have a duty to make sure that their children are well taken care of.

Very few children know their rights, and those who know are not couragious enggouh to take thier parentsto court on account of failing to fufill thier parental responsibilities.

Basing on the African traditions and cultures, the extended family has a lot of meaning, and most people encourage it.

African Philosophers like Julius Nyerere says that Africa is one.

His reflects the understanding of the values of the extended family in the African culture.

Having reflected on the philosophy behind the extended families in the traditional Africa, it is un-compromising to find such an alarming increase of street childrenin the sub-Saharan Africa.

It is absurd because if we really base on the values of the extended family in an African context, the children in our streets have relatives, therefore, they shouldn’t be where they are.

Nyerere’s philosophy on Freedom and Unity argues that in the traditional African societies no one was left out of, everyone was considered and cared for.

Exclusions such as leading to call someone a street kid were un-heard of.

The bonds of extended family were so strong that they went beyond clans and tribes up to nationalism and Africanism.

What Nyerere advocates for, is no longer a reality because there are more street children in the Sub-Saharan African than in any other party of the world. The rate is on the increase every other day.

It would be argued that values behind the extended families in the traditional African society have contributed a great deal to the increasing problem of street kids.

In the traditional African society, everyone was cared for; and therefore, children would not have sought refuge along the streets, since parents could not allow that.

Extended family values have not just declined out of blues, but there are other factors, which have led to their downfall in African societies.

In another way, the adoption of some cultural aspect from western world has made some people in Africa to forget some of their unique cultural aspects.

For instance the notion of nuclear family has traumatized many people, to the extent of forgetting that a son or a daughter of one’s brother or sister is in fact yours.

There is a need to be conscious and go back to our unique forgotten meaning of African traditional families, since many people rarely get good pay, thus the family finds itself in various socio-economic problems.

That is why I do not agree with people who argue that it is because Africa is poor that we have a lot of street kids in the Sub-Saharan Africa, that reason can be true but it is a drop in the sea.

Africa is regarded to be poor as a continent but it has a good number of individuals who are very rich. Just look at the African leaders.

It is a pity that Africa is being taken away by the globalization trend, so much so that philosophers of this continent have quickly be forgotten.

For instance, how many institutes in Africa are offering studies on the philosophies of African heroes such as Mandela, Nyerere, Nkrumah, Kenyatta, just to mention a few:?

The philosophies of these people may have weaknesses here and there, but we can still learn a lot from them, especially when addressing the problem of street children in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

The problem of street children should be dealt with accordingly, principally to restore the image of human being. When a child is mistreated along the streets, his/her rights are automatically tempered with.

  • SOURCE: Guardian