There is no city or town in Africa without street kids, even our prim and proper Kigali is not spared. However, according to research, violence in homes is one of the outstanding causes.
When you talk to some of these children who have found their livelihood on the streets, most of them will tell you that their parents’ behaviour are the major cause for leaving their homes to find solace on the cold streets.
I recently intercepted one street kid who accepted to speak to me about his life on the streets and the reasons that made him flee his home.
The 12 year old, Vincent Rwema, who most of the time inhales illicit drugs like glue to be able to brave the stinging cold of the night, told me that his father whenever he would come home drunk would always beat up the entire family.
“I felt I couldn’t stand it any more since I even had failed to concentrate in class due to all the harassment that I faced at home at the hands of my violent father,” he said.
Many other children on the streets will tell you their side of the story if you chanced to talk to them but the reasons they will give you, will not be far from Rwema’s. There are definitely some other reasons which cause this phenomenon that we cannot over look.
Statistics from the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion show that in 2006, there was a total of 7,000 street children. This number could either be on the rise or still where it is if the reports of Gender based and domestic violence are to be taken into consideration.
Many options on how to tackle the issue of street children have been thought of and a number of homes have been established to help get these kids off the streets.
However, all these solutions including the rehabilitation centres that have been established across the country cannot be successful unless the primary cause of the kids running away from their homes is not addressed.
Parents need to be reminded that children are always affected by any slight argument and are affected further when the argument goes violent.
One reason for saying this is that however much these children could be rehabilitated; they will need to be taken back to their homes. Unfortunately, the kids will in most cases find that nothing has changed from the time they left their homes hence returning to the streets.
In this case therefore, the problem has only one solution which every one of us has to take into account if we are to have a street children free-society, to find ways how we can eliminate Gender based and other forms of violence in our families.
Gender based violence is a habit whose trend has been increasing according to statistics.
When it comes to the countryside, the situation worsens since there the violence is instigated by a number of factors among which, like I have wrote in my previous articles, is alcoholism.
According to police statistics, some of the GBV cases include arbitrary deprivation of liberty, and abandonment or neglect.
Examples of sexual and physical abuse/violence include battering and cause of injuries, rape, incest, sexual harassment, pornography, and murder, desertion of homes, polygamy, verbal abuse, abortion, and child labour.
All these will continue to escalate the numbers of run-away kids if nothing is done to stop these kinds of violence in our families today.
All responsible parents of our society should try their level best to maintain violent-free families so that these kids can live happily and grow as responsible citizens since their being on the streets is also a cause of insecurity in our towns.
On the streets these boys and girls pick up all sorts of dangerous habits. It is here on the streets that as they grow, some become the violent criminals in our society, a situation we don’t want to face.
Let’s work towards a street kid free society by ensuring a healthy family tree first.