Surge in street children numbers raise concerns for Masaka City

Surge in street children numbers raise concerns for Masaka City
Rose Namwanje of Masaka police family and children affairs office with some of the street children

Authorities in Masaka City are increasingly alarmed by the surge in children fleeing their homes to seek refuge on the streets, with 170 cases reported since the start of the year.

According to the Family and Children office at Masaka Police Station, domestic violence is identified as the primary catalyst for this concerning trend.

Rose Namwanje, overseeing family and children affairs at Masaka police, expressed frustration over the persistent issue of neglectful parents, particularly men shirking their responsibilities.

Despite efforts to address the root causes of violence, there's a notable gap in understanding and cooperation from some parents.

“Most of these children when you interact with them, they tell you that daddy chased their mothers from homes and left them with step mothers who mistreat them and decide to run away from their homes,” Namwanje said.

Ms Ada Nkolenta says leaders are not doing their part in solving the issues that give rise to street children | Zainab Ssengendo

Ada Nkolenta, the head of Child Restoration Outreach, a home for street children, emphasised the critical need for concerted action to reintegrate these vulnerable children into stable environments.

While the agency is actively engaged in educational initiatives to support these children, the magnitude of the task remains daunting.

Criticism has been levied at city authorities for purportedly insufficient measures to address the plight of street children, underscoring the urgency for comprehensive intervention strategies.

“We must work with leaders to overcome this problem, to see how we can help these children and take them back to their parents’ home but leaders are neglecting the matter,” Ms Nkoleta added.

Testimonies from some of these children reveal harrowing tales of abuse and neglect at home, prompting their desperate flight to the streets in search of safety and stability.

The escalating number of street children in Masaka underscores the pressing need for collaborative efforts from authorities, communities, and families to provide adequate protection and support for vulnerable children, ensuring their right to a safe and nurturing environment is upheld.

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