GITEGA April 20th (ABP) – The Ministry in charge of national solidarity organized on Tuesday April 18, 2022 in Gitega (Center of the country), a workshop to reflect on the process of withdrawal and reintegration into communities, of children in street situation and adult beggars, for the governors of all the provinces of the country in order to make commitments in terms of contributions to significantly improve the lives of the thousands of children in the streets and adult beggars across the country.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry in charge of National Solidarity, Mr. Félix Ngendabanyikwa, said that the phenomenon of street children and begging is a reality in Burundi for social, economic and financial reasons. According to him, this phenomenon seems to be gaining momentum over time, to such an extent that today, street children are found in practically all the urban centers of Burundi. However, it is the family and the school that should provide them with the protection and affection that they fully need.
He pointed out that some voluntary organizations have made various initiatives by reintegrating more than 4,005 street children and more than 1,300 beggars into families and communities from the year 2018 until May 2021. He deplored that those initiatives did not provide satisfactory solutions. That is why, he said, the government of Burundi has assumed its responsibilities by defining the framework through which solutions should be envisaged. This is the national strategy for the prevention of that phenomenon and for community reintegration, a strategy recently approved at the Cabinet Meeting held on February 2, 2022.
Mr. Ngendabanyikwa also indicated that the high authorities of the country recommend that everything be done to eradicate this phenomenon of street children and that of begging by adults, also involving children and which is taking on a worrying aspect, thus constituting an insult to the nation. Hence, he noted, the involvement of provincial administrative authorities and sectoral officials, ministries will constitute an important strategy to solve this challenge. He asked them to do everything possible, each in their area of intervention, for this process to have significant progress throughout the country, from July 1st.
To overcome this problem, Mr. Ngendabanyikwa pointed out that the supervisory ministry has proposed three main strategic axes with different components that clearly specify the actions to be taken in order to significantly reduce or even eradicate the phenomenon in the main urban centers of the country. One of those axes provides for the economic strengthening of vulnerable families so that they can meet the needs of their children with the aim of keeping them at home and in school. This axis also provides for the socio-educational and recreational component which consists of the development of educational and recreational alternatives at the community level, the component dealing with measures of prevention and protection against the exploitation of the phenomenon, the component on awareness and that which concerns the advocacy.
In turn, the provincial administrative authorities have suggested that there be sensitization of the people to explain their role in the implementation of the process. They also proposed that there be tough penalties for parents who do not properly fulfill their role in the family.
Some provincial administrative officials have asked the people not to give money to those child and adult beggars who are reaching out to them.
Note that the governor of Mwaro province, Colonel Gaspard Gasanzwe, has indicated that in his province there are no more street children and no adult beggars.