The City of Kigali has announced plans to join hands with NGOs to address what it calls “street challenges”, i.e street children, commercial sex workers, hawkers and beggars, among others.
This is a very tall order indeed, especially for street children, and a solution will not come easily. The only thing city authorities can do is to mitigate the causes.
There is no way of keeping the children off the street if their domestic issues are not addressed.
For example, some of them could be victims of domestic abuse and decide to run away, but if local leaders closely monitored households that could be averted.
Others are the products of simple delinquency that Iwawa rehabilitation and vocational skills development centre, and a proposed rehabilitation centre for delinquent girls, cannot fail to address. But the biggest headache is the children who were raised on the streets with their mothers.
I am talking about the children strapped on the backs of their begging mothers. The children serve a purpose as they stir up compassion and pity that makes one dig easily into the pockets for spare change.
Some women are even said to hire babies to use as bait in their begging enterprise. These are the same children who, once passed the age of being carried on the back, are sent out by the parents to beg.
Begging becomes an addiction like any other and the prospects of getting something for nothing becomes ingrained in their minds and a generation of professional beggars is born.
So the City of Kigali should go back on the drawing board; deal with the women beggars and sanction families that force their children to go and beg instead of being in school.
Otherwise, other professional advice given by NGOs may come to naught.