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Bulawayo accounts for most child headed families

by Staff reporter
31 Mar 2021 at 06:32hrs | Views
BULAWAYO has the highest number of child headed families across all urban centres in the country, resulting in wayward behaviour.

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) 2020 Urban Livelihoods Assessment report released recently shows that Bulawayo has 1,1 percent of children who are heads of families.

Following Bulawayo is Matabeleland South, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Midlands at 0,4 percent each, with Masvingo recording 0,3 percent, while Matabeleland North, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West recorded 0,2 percent child head families per province. The Bulawayo percentage is above the national average of 0,4 percent.

An 18-year-old Bulawayo child family head, who is a Form Four pupil at Mpopoma High School, laid bare some of the challenges affecting children in his situation. He said he lives with his two siblings, aged 13 and eight, whom he has to take care of before going to school.

"Before I go to school, I have to cook for them, my youngest brother can't even take care of his needs as he is too young. I have to constantly worry about how they are as I have assumed the role of their parents but I'm still young and also trying to understand life. My mother stays in the rural areas, our relatives don't even want us so there is nothing we can do. I wish there could be someone who looks after my brothers so that I can also focus on school," he said.

He said he was grateful to the Higher Life Foundation which pays his school fees.

Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube said death of parents and migration to other countries was contributing to most child headed families in Bulawayo.

She said Government working with the corporate, Non-Governmental Organisation's (NGOs) and churches and orphanages was making interventions to support the child headed families.

"I think we need to appreciate the efforts being made by the private sector, individuals, churches and NGOs who complement Government's efforts in looking after the child-headed families in Bulawayo. When some of them come to our offices we link them to some business people and we want to commend them for being forthcoming to assist these children who have assumed the role of parents. Most of the child headed families are a result of deaths in families or when parents relocate to the diaspora," she said.

Minister Ncube said while some organisations have chipped in to economically support the children, churches play a significant role in molding the character of the children in the absence of elders.

"That fabric gap that the children can not get from institutions, the church comes in to support the children. However, for those children without anyone to go to we link them to existing homes but as a community I think we need to come up with our own system to assist the child headed families. We have a proposal that we are looking into which we think we can adopt as a community," said Minister Ncube.

She said there are some worrying incidents when there is evidence of social fabric being broken as a result of children living alone.

Minister Ncube said this happens, especially among those children, who are financially empowered as a result of their parents working in the diaspora.

"There is one worrying incident that we witnessed. A girl child had accompanied her grandfather to the bank to collect remittances. After collecting the money at the bank, the child grabbed the money as her grandfather was about to put it into his wallet while shouting that the money came from her father so it had to be given to her. These are some of the problems that we are facing as a society, the social fabric is threatened as some of these issues can even lead to broken families if children do not respect their guardians," said Minister Ncube.

Source - chroncile