Street Children In Zambia makes sad reading but it’s a true story. The case of child labour and street children is not only a Zambian problem but a global one. Coupled with homelessness, it is a huge social problem.
It’s not that these children on the streets in Zambia today do not have families with the means to take proper care of them. Some are from well to do families.
But today in Zambia and in some parts of Africa, the traditional extended family system has broken down, with the result that the surviving members of the departed are not interested in taking care of the children left behind.
These children end up without a roof over their heads. They spend their nights in shop corridors or any make shift shelter.
The street kids lack education, adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care and protection, making them very prone to disease, abuse and exploitation.
It is estimated that Zambia has about 37,000 to 38,000 homeless street kids.
In Zambia, two types of street kids can be identified:
These are children who are on the street during the day but return home at sunset.
This group is on the streets due to various factors. One of the factors maybe poverty and this forces them to be on the streets all day trying to make a living. Child labour is usually a result of poverty.
The second group are those children who are on the street day and night.
These children find themselves without a roof over their heads because of various circumstances. But the biggest one is lack of parents or guardians to take care of them.
Loss of a parent or both parents can be a very big challenge to a child especially if there’s no one willing to fill the gap. It is sad that surviving members of the family are shying away from taking up this responsibility.
In old days, it was traditional for the living to take care of the young ones left behind. Sadly, the situation is not the same these days.
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