An upsurge in cases of domestic violence over the last few years has forced children onto the streets.
This was revealed during a heart-rending testimony by a child MP drawn from the streets, Felix Magumo, who told the junior House’s 19th Session last Saturday most children were forced out of their homes by a rise in cases of domestic violence.
Responding to the contributions by the child MPs, Women’s Affairs minister Olivia Muchena said it was imperative for children to understand what was contained in the Domestic Violence Act as it was also designed to protect them.
“The Domestic Violence Act is not about violence against women only, but it is also about violence in the home and there are specific provisions for children,” said Muchena.
“My ministry and Unicef have developed a simplified flyer to be distributed by junior MPs to children so that they know how to take action against domestic violence.”
During debate, the junior MP representing children with disabilities, Selina Hondo, demanded the school curriculum should include teaching of sign language.
Deputy Minister of Education Lazarus Dokora said his ministry had been seriously considering the idea of introducing sign language at all schools, but needed budgetary support to fully implement it.
Labour and Social Welfare minister Paurina Gwanyanya-Mpariwa said her ministry had a programme whereby orphaned children with no birth certificates and identity documents could be assisted to obtain them.
“We run removal and rehabilitation programmes for children living in the streets and those that have been abused. There is a way in which orphaned children living in the streets can get identity documents. I do sign consent papers or forms for children who have no parents so that they get identity documents and we have social services offices nationwide,” Ganyanya-Mpariwa said.