On 4th September, 2013 ZOE Orphan Empowerment program hosted representatives from the office of Dowa DC, Social welfare, police, local chiefs and the healthcare department. They conducted a ZOE familiarization tour.
The team visited individual and group ZOE projects.
Giving his speech after the tour, Constable Sungani Nalutepa, a child Protection officer from police explained that 67% of the juvenile crimes in Madisi are caused either from single parents or from guardians other than parents or were living alone at the time of arrest. The only logical conclusion from this contrast is that children/young persons from this group are more likely to commit crime than those from two-parent homes. In other words among the causes for the juvenile crime are poverty, broken homes and single parent homes, homelessness and being an orphan.
“Police recognises that crime prevention is not just about protecting children who are about to fall into bad association but also includes providing the best possible care and socio-economic support as well as ZOE is doing, to minimse children’s chances of resorting to crime. We used to have an average of 10 juvenile offenders per month, with the coming of ZOE, the number has reduced to an average of 3 junile offenders per month” said Nakutepa
Mr James Kamanga from the Child Labour department added that ZOE is also helping to reduce child labour in Madisi. These children used to be employed in tobacco farms because they are a source of cheap labour. With ZOE, they are empowered and no longer work for someone but for themselves.
The local chiefs also added that a lot of organizations have cheated them but not ZOE. “We are no longer settling theft issues involving orphans and vulnerable children in our communities as ZOE has absorbed them all and gave them something to do” said group village Headman Masamani.
I have a vision, a day is coming when Madisi will be free of juvenile offenders. Thanks to ZOE Orphan Empowerment Program!!!!
By Mercy Chikhosi Nyirongo