The abrupt announcement of the national lockdown by Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa shocked many people; the business community and civil society were caught unprepared. Though the measures put by government in trying to curb the spread of coronavirus through the implementation of a lockdown are necessary, the average person on the streets has been hard hit to the extent that at times, one can go to sleep on an empty stomach due to the lack of basic needs.
This national shutdown has impacted negatively on many livelihoods and the economy at large. It has given rise to a myriad of challenges such as mental instability, hunger and gender based violence (GBV), street kids have not been spared by this deadly pandemic and are made to face the wrath of this global novel on their own.
In Zimbabwe more than 1.6 million children are orphans and thousands of them are leashing onto the streets every year in search for survival. Towns and cities have become the home of many forgotten children.
During the ‘Angels for life foundation’ tour, I was alerted of many children sleeping on the pavements of Harare Central Business District (CBD) and slowly dying of hunger. Our inability as people has snatched all hope away from these poor children. They lack basic needs such as shelter, food and clean water.
As we get into the full swing of the winter season, they lay on the streets without blankets and other warmer protective clothing. Homeless people and street kids should be made a priority in our nation, not only on the basis of the government’s responsibility but also as a means of reviving humanity.
Looking at how the economy has been struck with the pandemic, the enforced lockdown has made it difficult for an ordinary Zimbabwean to survive. Only the so-called essential services are allowed in town and this therefore means that the street kids that were surviving from picking leftover crumps have been dealt a heavy blow as they have to scavenge for food outside the CBD
If not properly addressed there are fears that many Zimbabweans will die from hunger and starvation than from the actual pandemic cause.
I do understand and appreciate the efforts of free Aid that has been going on from the government, as well as many other foundations but, we can all agree that a lot still need to be done. Policies to help these innocent kids should be immediately implemented before much harm is caused. Let’s help each other rise, together WE CAN.
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I want to appreciate the efforts of free aid coming from the government, as well as many other donors and foundations but, I strongly feel that it is still a long way before the night is over, and more should be done.
Government must look into policies to help these innocent children before the worst struck them off.
Let’s help each other rise, together We Can.
Edith Chibhamu is a human right activist and businesswoman.