JAIROS Jiri Craft Centre in Bulawayo will be used to shelter children living in the streets as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare permanent secretary Simon Masanga confirmed the development last week.
“Yes, it’s very true we are engaging on such a task rounding up all the children living in the streets. We want to make sure that they are in safe places and because it is known that they were living through begging for food and money,” he said.
“They can no longer survive because no one is allowed to be in the city centre, hence we want to provide them with food and a very safe environment.”
“Once people come forward, social workers assess them, get all the information or details from them. People should live in normal environments which are comfortable and safe. These people do not choose to live in the streets, but it is the situation at homes they used to live in that forced them to live in the streets,” he said.
“Some come from abusive families, some are drug abusers, hence they feel like living in the streets is cool, hence we believe that they also deserve a home to live in during this lockdown.”
Masanga said the government was taking all COVID-19 health procedures before taking them to the homes.
“In taking them in we follow all health procedures, we are working with the Ministry of Health. We are also asking them to practise social distancing as a way of curbing the virus, hence our objective in this is to remove all the people from the streets,” he said.
Earlier on a notice from the Department of Social Welfare in Bulawayo indicated that the children living in the streets were being taken to the Jairos Jiri Centre.
“May you all be informed that Jairos Jiri Vocational Training Centre has been identified as a Bulawayo centre to house children from the streets during this lockdown period. Currently 31 are housed at the centre…age group ranges from 13 years to 18 years,” the notice read.
“It is in light of this that we appeal for any assistance that will go a long way in making their stay comfortable and also those who can offer services that will also assist in their integration into the community and keep them occupied at the centre.”