An awareness campaign for homeless children in the country is set take place this Friday (23 March) at the Main Mall quad. Homelessness among children has become a serious issue in Botswana society, with many children suffering from lack of food and shelter.
“We want to bring light to their problems and make sure that people can hear those tormenting cries,” said Dr Rehumile Nkoane, coordinator of the project.
Nkoane said children are commonly born into this situation and have no control over their living arrangements, adding that most of these children go through life living on the streets or in shelters for the homeless.
“Health care is very limited or even nonexistent for these children; physical, psychological, and emotional damage is very frequent in homeless cases,” he said.
Nkoane said nobody seems to care about these children or to address their problems.
He said most children are leaving home because of abuse and violence.
“Children roam the streets because they feel unsafe at home, and remove themselves from danger.”
Nkoane said the aim of the campaign is to raise awareness and funds for Childline Botswana and Hope mission to help in the work they do with homeless and abused children.
“The idea stems from the fact that when a child has become so frustrated with what is supposed to be the safest place in their lives, they feel that they need to leave,” he said.
He said it is emotionally taxing and they tend to leave without anything but the clothes on their back and on the other hand they don’t have roofs over their heads but continue to suffer.
“We need to look into their plight because their suffering is perhaps worse because they suffer in silence; their cries go unheard as their fathers, uncles and brothers sexually abuse them,” said Nkoane.
“It will give us a platform to reflect the difficulties the children face upon their departure of not having food, extra clothes, and no shelter,” said Nkoane. The night will be graced by artistes like Chub Heightz, KEB, Melissa, The Ladies of Jazz, KTM Choir and other poets to keep spirits high on the night.
“We will have an opportunity to discuss why we end up with homeless children in the first place and create a platform that will allow this discussion to continue and possibly provide solutions to this problem beyond the night,” said Nkoane.