21 December 2017

Burundi: Removing Children From Streets - Everybody's Responsibility


While the deadline for the campaign to remove children from the streets approaches, different activists recall everyone's responsibility to make it a success.

Children living on the street come from different regions of the country and for various reasons. Joseph Ndayisaba, Lecturer at the University of Burundi, says everyone should participate in their removal from the street. He says the study conducted at the University of Burundi in the faculty of psychology reveals that children join the street for a wide range of reasons.

"Some choose to live on the street because of the extreme poverty in their families others due to the 1993 crisis while some others are used by their families as a way of earning money," says Prof. Ndayisaba.

He appeals to people/institutions charged with children's reintegration to take into consideration the causes which pushed them to join the street. "Every child's situation should be analysed and considered so as to avoid their return to street life", he says.

He also says there should be capacity building sessions and sensitization campaigns especially towards police agents so as to teach them how to remove those children from the street without using violence.

Jacques Nshimirimana, President of FENADEB (National Federation of Associations advocating for Children's Rights) says children's rights defenders praise the decision to remove all the children from the street. He says they were associated in the process and adds that any use of violence should be avoided to make this campaign a success.

Nshimirimana says the campaign is ongoing and at a promising step. He calls on the government not to rush with the deadline for the campaign but rather prioritize a commendable job with lasting results. "The campaign is on-going but it is not as simple as that. Seemingly, it won't meet the deadline, the reason why I appeal to the government to prioritize a commendable job", he says.

Godeliève Ndayishimiye, Counselor in the Department of Children and Family at the ministry of solidarity, says the campaign to remove children from the street needs everyone's support: "The government alone cannot make it. We need the support of both partners and population".

She says the government and its partners have run a sensitization campaign in the families that will receive those children. She adds that they have prepared temporary accommodation centers where those children will stay before they are sent back to their families.

The government of Burundi launched the campaign to eradicate street life and begging in June 2016 and it has recently announced that it will end with 2017.


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