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Tikondane Care for Children, police run road show to raise awareness on child protection in Lilongwe

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Officials from Tikondane Care for Children on/off the Streets (TCCS) and Malawi Police Service on Thursday took to the streets of high-density areas of Chinsapo, Mtsiriza, Area 36 and Mgona to raise awareness on the need for parents to protect children from any form of exploitation.

TCCS is a Catholic-based charity organization advancing the welfare of street-connected children in Lilongwe. Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (MSOLA) established the organization in 1998 in collaboration with the Catholic Archdiocese of Lilongwe to provide giving holistic care, protect and empower vulnerable.

It also provides care to the marginalized children, facilitates their re-integration in their families and school systems and advocate for their cause in fostering a spirit of justice, healing and reconciliation.

TCCS official Matiasi Jailos addressing residents at Mgona--Photo by Watipaso Mzungu
TCCS official Matiasi Jailos addressing residents at Mgona–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

This year, TCCS has clocked 25 years of its service to the children both on and off the streets. Among the activities to commemorate the 25th anniversary, Tikondane and the police ran a road show in the high-density areas of Lilongwe to sensitize parents about the dangers of sending children to beg on the streets.

Speaking at Mgona Community Ground, TCCS Social Worker responsible Street and Outreach Department, Cosmas Makala, called for collaboration in protecting children from all forms of exploitation.

Makala emphasized that every Malawian has a responsibility to care and protect children from any harmful activities in and around their society.

“We must take care of our children. And I wish to appeal to community leaders to assume a leading role in providing optimal care and support to our children so that they grow into responsible and reliable future citizens,” he said.

Lilongwe Model Police Station Child Protection Coordinator, William Chirambo, took advantage of the road show to sensitize the public about the laws that were framed to protect the children.

Chirambo said the laws spell out stiff penalties on perpetrators of violence and abuse of the children.

Head of Child Protection Department at Lilongwe Model Police Station William Chirambo sensitizing Mgona residents on child-related laws–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

“I therefore urge all of you, children, to report any form of abuse and violation of your rights to the police or any community leader near you so that perpetrators should face the law,” he said.

In his remarks, Village Head Dickson of Mgona commended TCCS and the police for the initiative, stressing that it was an eye opener to both parents and children as ultimate beneficiaries of the intervention.

Speaking ahead of the 25th anniversary in April 2023, TCCS Social Work Coordinator Bridget Chetama cited negative publicity on the street-connected children as one of the factors frustrating efforts to reform and reintegrate the concerned children into the society.

Chetama appealed for sympathy, care, love and support towards street-connected children, saying this is key in reforming the children.

The 2020 findings indicate that Malawi had approximately 4, 000 children living on the streets of the major cities, with experts estimating that there would be at least 6, 000 street-connected children in the country by 2022.

Breakdown of family structures leading to divorce and separation in parents, domestic violence that has displaced the children, neglect among parents and guardians are some of the factors driving children onto the streets.

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