The Government has launched a month-long campaign to sensitise the public on child rights, with officials from the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion saying that over 11,000 children were withdrawn from practices categorised as child labour in the last five years.
At least 2,600 children were also moved from institutional care (including orphanages) and placed into families, under a government campaign of ensuring that every child gets an opportunity of being raised in a family set up, they added.
The campaign, that started at the weekend in Kicukiro District, will encompass three events; the International Day of Families, World Day against Child Labour and Day of the African Child.
Jaqueline Kamanzi, the executive secretary of the National Women Council, said the campaign will have different events geared toward child protection.
“The planned activities include prevention and elimination of worst forms of child labour, reintegrating street children into families and school, fostering birth registration, moving children from orphanages to foster families among others,” she said.
The fourth Integrated Household Survey (EICV4, 2015) indicates that 2.1 per cent of children are engaged in hazardous work.
The campaign, she said, will target children engaged in domestic work, reintegrate them in their families and help them join formal education and take appropriate action against persons engaging them in domestic work.
“Parents should visit orphanages that still have children with view to taking them in. These are our children so let us give them the opportunity to be nurtured in a family set up. We need children raised in an environment where they can get family affection and other Rwandan values,” Kamanzi added.
Statistics from the ministry indicate that over 1,200 children in orphanages and other institutions are yet to receive foster families.
Kamanzi said to help on following up children placed in foster families 29,674 community-based para-professionals dubbed ‘Inshuti z’Umuryango’ (Friends of the Family) were enlisted across the country to monitor the integration of these children.
She said that in the promotion and protection of child rights, children with disabilities should be made priority.
The campaign, Kamanzi said, will also embark on birth registration for children, including those born from unwanted pregnancies, adding that at 56 per cent, the rate at which children are registered at birth remains low.
Kamanzi said the village roundtable programme, Umugoroba w’Ababyeyi, is the basic platform to teach on protecting children, including those with disabilities among other initiatives to be tackled in their campaign.