Windhoek has estimated almost 200 street children

23 Oct 2015 18:10pm
WINDHOEK 23 OCT (NAMPA) – There are nearly 200 street children in Windhoek, a study conducted by the University of Namibia has found.
This figure was presented during a four-day conference by the University of Namibia and Finland’s Savonia University of Applied Science in Windhoek this week.
The conference focused on research on public health, agriculture and social welfare conducted in Namibia, Kenya, Finland, Mozambique and South Africa.
It took place under the theme 'Environment - Improving the well-being of groups that need special attention and including communities'.
The University of Namibia’s social work department did research on homeless youth living in Windhoek. They collected data amongst homeless youth below the age of 21 in Windhoek, and found that there are about 197 homeless youth living around the capital.
Approximately 75 per cent of this figure represents children below 18.
Loini Shinyama, an undergraduate social work student in her presentation on Thursday said “These children have homes and usually find themselves on the street to contribute towards the financial support of their families”.
She went on to say that 25 per cent of street children have little or no contact with their families, and are on the street for survival.
Some of these children end up on the street because their caregivers are unemployed. Other factors are alcohol or physical abuse.
“There are children whose parents physically and emotionally abuse them so they do not want to stay at home,” Shinyama said.
The research was mainly carried out in informal settlements and some areas of the Katutura, Khomasdal, Windhoek West and Windhoek North residential areas, as well as in the Central Business District.
She also mentioned that she encountered cases where children did not want to go back home and instead wanted to be sent to schools outside Windhoek so they could stay in the hostels there.
“They feel that being here in Windhoek they would be in contact with their peers and would be influenced to go back to the streets, so they wanted to be placed in hostels outside Windhoek,” Shinyama said.
The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare has an after school centre in Windhoek where street children are kept busy with various activities while the ministry looks into placing them in homes.
The ministry proposed that the social work students carry out the research into how many street children Windhoek has.