Ten thousand street boys and girls in Malawi
Official data says there are a total of 10,000 street boys and girls in Malawi; that is, they have no home, sleep among cartons, if they find one, and live as and what they can between the contempt and rejection of the society around them. They beg on the street, rummage through the garbage, do jobs that no one wants to do, some commit petty thefts, and in the case of girls, some opt for prostitution.
In any case, the lives of street girls and boys in Malawi are very hard. Moses Banda, who was one of those street children, reminds a local journalist: “When people see us, they don’t treat us like human beings; between insults, they kick us away (…) or throw dirty water at us, when they only need to ask us ”.
Many end up on the streets because they are fleeing domestic violence, because their parents are too poor to support them, or simply because they have been orphaned. Some come from rural areas dazzled by the mirage of the city. It is important to remember that 60% of the population lives below the poverty line and 22% live in extreme poverty.
The public administration ignores it. This is considered to be a matter of public policy, which therefore corresponds to punitive measures and which, regardless of the reason why some have left their homes, must be returned to their families.
So how are these boys and girls? Moses himself explains: “we feel traumatized, with great inner suffering, abandoned…” After all, the street is the last frontier. As for girls, sexual violence is a daily reality: at least a third of them have been raped, abused or sexually exploited.
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