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Parents Don’t Have Time for Us –Children Speak Out

Bruno Muwuluzi, a student from Uplands High School, said that some of their colleagues on streets come from poverty stricken families and distant areas where they are offered to buyers by their parents under the pretext of finding jobs for them.
Marjorine Patience Nabisanso a pupil at Kitebi Primary School during the children's parliament at Nsambya Sharing Hall on Wednesday.

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The failure of parents to spare time for their children and guide them have been singled out as the major drivers of children to streets.

This is what dominated the children’s Parliament held at Nsambya Sharing Hall on Wednesday. Children debated under the theme; “Are Children safe and Protected” If yes, then why do we still have so many children on the streets?” 

Bruno Muwuluzi, a student from Uplands High School, said that some of their colleagues on streets come from poverty stricken families and distant areas where they are offered to buyers by their parents under the pretext of finding jobs for them.

He said that upon arrival in Kampala, the children end up on streets where they are turned into beggars. Muwuluzi argues that while poverty is a key driver to growing number of street children, parents are to blame for neglecting their children.   

//Cue in: “Its poverty fueling child trafficking…

Cue out: …wake up!.”// 

Marjorine Patience Nabisanso, a pupil from Kitebi Primary School, said children are running to the streets because of family disputes, child labor as well as failure by parents to allocate their children sufficient time.  

//Cue in: “These are the reasons why…

 

Cue out: …to see where she can go.”// 

Vox Pops – Children make recommendations to government on street children. 

//Cue in: “We call upon the government…

Cue out: …provide safer places for them.”//   

The debate organised by Dwelling Places and Rahab Uganda, which rehabilitate and support neglected and street children attracted more than 200 children from nine primary and secondary schools in Kampala and Wakiso districts. 

They included Everlight College Bunga, Baptist High School, Uplands High School, Setlight College –Kawuku, Kitebi Primary School. Mothercare Preparatory School Nakulabye Junior School, Peace Primary School and Lambs Child learning Center –Masajja.  

The event was intended to give momentum to the commemoration of the International Day for Street Children, which is commemorated every 12th day of April with a view of amplifying the voice of millions of street children around the world. 

The information sheet on child trafficking shows that about 1.2million children are trafficked each year. They are primarily trafficked for child labor (domestic, farm, labor and increasingly in artisanal mining and oil fields), street begging and sexual exploitation. 

  

A 2018 enumeration report by Retrack, a faith-based UK charity organisation shows that there are 15,476 street children in Kampala, Jinja, Mbale and Iganga. In each of these towns, children from the native tribes were dominant on streets, followed by Karamojong. 

This implies that in Kampala, the Baganda are the highest on the streets followed by Karamojong. Reports indicate that those who end up on streets face constant abuse from police, government officials and community members.

According to Deymond Wamala, the Country Director Dwelling Places, all children are prone to ending up on the streets. He observes that many children they have rehabilitated have been found to come from rich families. 

//Cue in: “Some of the children…

Cue out: …as a child.”// 

Wamala says in 2018, Dwelling Places rescued 180 children from Kampala streets and reconnected them with their parents but the numbers on streets keep growing day by day.  

He says child traffickers who he blamed for the ever-growing number of children on streets need to be identified and dealt with by authorities. He also welcomes the move to criminalize the act of giving money to street children which makes them stay there.   

Sulea Khatundi, the officer in charge of Child and Family Protection Unit at the Central Police Station –CPS in Kampala disclosed to URN that they have been conducted an operation previously where close to 100 children were rounded, rehabilitated and re-united with their families.

She however says police is finding it hard to completely remove them from the street because they are benefiting financially through begging.   

//Cue in: “Majority who are benefiting …

Cue out: …resettled in their homes.”// 

The Ayivu County MP, Bernard Atiku who is also the Chairperson of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Children – UPFC, says the issues raised by children point to a weakness in parenting in the country. 

He appealed to parents and other Ugandan adults to re-focus and undertake their constitutional obligation to protect the children from abuse. 

//Cue in: “I request that children…

Cue out: …coming out of the children.”//   

Kampala Capital City Authority –KCCA Deputy Director for Gender, Josephine Lubwama Mukasa, said government doesn’t fund children related activities. 

She said due to competing demands, KCCA allocates only Shillings 20million each financial year to cater for children related activities, which is insufficient.

  Reacting on children concerns, Lubwama said the City Authority was to consider more sensitization in various communities reminding parents of their responsibilities. 

//Cue in: “Funding for children is limited…

Cue out: …at community level.”// 

John Mugisha, a Probation and Welfare Officer at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development said majority people have become parents ‘accidentally’ and father or mother children and thereafter run away, leaving the children to be nurtured by streets.

//Cue in: “Become a parent one…

Cue out: …this won’t them parents.”//

Mugisha, who is also in charge of the Sauti 116, a Uganda child helpline, says the major setback to removing children on streets from Kampala has been failure by parents in their roles.

//Cue in: “I think the major set-back…

Cue out: …protect you as a child.”//  

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