April 16, 2020

‘Thanks but no thanks’

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Zim homeless children escape safe houses

Wilson Kakurira

Some homeless children have escaped from a safe house they were staying in in Mt Hampden, on the outskirts of Harare, and are back in the streets, doing what they know best – begging for alms.

The children, together with hundreds of other homeless people, were moved to centres on the outskirts of the city as part of measures towards containing the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The homeless people are being accommodated in Mt Hampden, Ruwa rehabilitation centre and Jamaica inn.

However, some juveniles are back on the streets and have no regrets.

 One of the children, who referred to himself as TK said: “I feel I’m better off in the streets, where I can make a little money to buy myself food.

“Besides we are not sure what Government plans to do with us once the lock down period is done. Maybe they intend to send us back to the very homes that we escaped from.”

Added another: “The food ratios we were getting at the safe houses is too little. It’s better when we fend for ourselves out here in the streets”.

Tinashe, another homeless teenager, reckons the safe houses will be better habitats for his ilk if authorities introduce programmes to equip children with vocational skills

“I want to be a motor mechanic and be able to fend for my family. My wish is for us to be given such skills at these safe houses,” he said.

Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Professor Paul Mavima said Government is working on re-orienting the homeless children.

 “We are working on instituting behavior change among homeless children.

“Remember a majority of them were living on the streets with no code of behavior. So we are reorienting them with the idea that they should not go back on the streets”.

Prof Mavima added that security measures were being put in place at safe houses to ensure occupants do not escape.

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