All kids should grow up in families, MPs say
Members of the chamber of deputies met officials from the ministry of gender and family promotion on Thursday in a consultative meeting to discuss the current status of former street children living in centers and how to integrate them into families.
Esperance Mwiza, the chairperson of social affairs committee, said that her team recently concluded a tour in orphanages and child centers all around the country. They realized that there is still a great number of orphans and children coming from unknown families while others were entrusted by their parents to the orphanage.
“This is a great challenge for Rwandan society where some families fail to take care of their children and take them to centers,” Mwiza said.
A recent study conducted jointly by the National Commission for Children (NCC), and Hope and Homes for Children, a local NGO, indicates that 3153 children are house in centers, some of which even accommodate young people in their 20s.
According to the study, street children mostly come from urban areas including Rubavu, Gasabo, Rusizi, Nyarugenge, Huye and Gicumbi among other districts. The report also identified kids from neighboring countries like Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Burundi.
For Mwiza, the National Commission for Children should reintegrate these children either in their respective families or in foster families. “In the centers, children never learn to become self-reliant citizens, but only to rely on aid,” she argued.
This is not the first initiative of this kind. In 2005, a 5-year strategic plan was launched to take street kids off the road, but due to the lack of a comprehensive program it did not produce results. Yet today a better structure is in place, such as Iwawa training center which provides such children with technical skills, and as a result the number of street children is decreasing.