HIV deaths and migration to countries abroad in search of greener pastures have been attributed as some of the reasons subjecting children to orphan hood and child headed families in Zimbabwe.
by VENERANDA LANGA
According to the Zimstat 2014 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, about 27% of children in the country under the age of 18 years were orphans and lived with neither parents.
“The older the child, the more likely they were to live with neither biological parent,” the report read. “About 29% of children in rural areas lived with neither biological parent compared to 19,3% in urban areas,” they said.
About 18% of children were said to have one or both biological parents, while 20% of children in rural areas had lost at least one biological parent compared to 12,6% in urban areas.
“For full and harmonious development of a child and for his or her personality, they should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding. Millions of children around the world grow up without the care of their parents for several reasons, including premature death of the parents or their migrations for work.
“In most cases, these children are cared for by members of their extended families, while in others, children may be living in households other than their own as live-in domestic workers, for instance. Others end up in the street or state institutions,” the MICS report said.
The percentage of children with parents living abroad was 2,5% — and it comprised ages zero to 17 years, who had both parents living abroad — while 10, 6% had at least one parent living abroad.
Matabeleland South had the highest number of parents leaving their children to live abroad with 29,2%, followed by Bulawayo at 23,1%, while Mashonaland Central had the least with 1,5%.
Harare recorded 7,7% in terms of percentage of children aged zero to 17 years with at least one parent living abroad.
Although living abroad helps the country in terms of remittances, there are also adverse psycho-social effects that are said to have an effect on the children left behind, the report said.