COVID19News

Street kids run away from govt facilities

The department of social welfare has raised concerns that homeless people who are being housed at government shelters are running away and opting to return to the streets despite the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since April last year, the department has been moving homeless people from the streets and accommodating them at various centres across the country to curb the spread of Covid-19.

However, in Bulawayo, most of the street kids are absconding from the centres and returning to the streets.

Speaking during an online meeting, last week, hosted by Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) on transparency and accountability of covid-19 resources, Fanwell Dzoma said most of the children cannot be accounted for in the centres.

“The last item is child protection we were providing the service during the lockdown, child protection the ministry or the department had to move children from the street and place them in places of safety, so here in Bulawayo we removed about 31 children from the streets and they were housed at Jairos Jiri centre, whilst the process of talking with their families was ongoing,” said Dzoma. 

“Four of these children when we took them to Jairos Jiri they absconded from the institution, so that was the challenge that we also got. Two were taken into the institution because they had nowhere to go, but the others there were sent back either to their homes or to their district of origin because some of them were coming from outside Bulawayo. 

He said the remaining children also ran away.

“Unfortunately, for those who were remaining inside they ran away from the home and came out to the streets again and this came up during follow ups visits. 

Dzoma added that during the current phase of the national lockdown 11 children have been removed from the streets in Bulawayo.

“Now during this second phase, 11 were from the streets to the place of safety but currently only three are in the institution meaning they absconded again. And among these, we realised that only five were previously identified in Bulawayo but they had run away from their homes.”

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