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Perception of Children living or working on the Street in Mwanza , Tanzania. The survey and call for action “Promoting and Protecting the Rights of the Children Working or Living on the Streets”. Presentation made to the EXPERT CONSULTATION MEETING 1 st to 2 nd November 2011,

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perception of children living or working on the street in mwanza tanzania

Perception of Children living or working on the Street in Mwanza, Tanzania

The survey and call for action

“Promoting and Protecting the Rights of the Children Working or Living on the Streets”

Presentation made to the

EXPERT CONSULTATION MEETING

1st to 2nd November 2011,

United Nations, OHCHR

By Mutani Yangwe , Founder & Director

CARETAKERS OF THE ENVIRONMENT TANZANIA

Kuleana Street Children Centre & Tanzania Street Children Sports Project

slide2

What about in Mwanza, Tanzania?

In1991, Mwanza City saw the first child arrive to live / work on the street. Since then, Mwanza has witnessed a visible increase in the number of children living or working on the street.

A census conducted by Railway Children & Adilisha in 2008 identified 443 children living full time on the streets in Mwanza city.

COET is believe that to date (2011) there is about 625 - 800 full and part time children living or working in the streets of Mwanza city, and about 1720 in Mwanza Region, approximately 64,000 vulnerable children in the Mwanza Region.

Every day Mwanza city sees about 1-3 new children arriving on the streets and about 1-2 children leaving Mwanza to go to other cities / towns.

There is a lack of knowledge in Mwanza city of how street children come into existence and how to help them.

what is your perception

To the child you see loitering on the pavement? This child could be yours.

To the child who lives in extreme poverty or is a victim of family breakdown and is at risk of coming to live on the street full or part-time?

To the child who you see living, sleeping, eating and working on the streets without adult care?

To the child you see being physically, sexually or verbally abused by local people, gangs or police? This child could be yours.

To the child who you see spending his / her part of each day on the streets, begging,

playing or working and then returning home at night?

What is your perception:

To the child who you see being beaten by police for sleeping on the pavement or on the streets?

slide4

Initiative to Protect Tanzanian Children

Domestic initiatives to protect children in Tanzania became more meaningful in 2009 after enactment of the Law of the Child Act, 2009.657

“Tanzania enacted the child law years after the CRC was adopted and the eighteen years after the ACHRWC was adopted. Tanzania has failed even to guarantee children protection under the constitutions.’’ 658

Children’s rights were proclaimed in various polices such as Child Development Policy (2008); the Health Policy (1990/2002) which aimed at protecting mothers

And children through reducing infant and maternal mortality rates; the Employment Policy (2004) which addresses child labour issues in compliance with the ILO terms; and the Agricultural Policy (2006) which aims to ensure food stability for children.659

slide5

TANZANIA HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTS 2010

Violations of Children’s Rights

According to Tanzania Legal and Human Rights Centre reports. In 2010 children remained victims of torture, rape, assaults, cruelty and killings. The LHRC’s 2010 survey, gathered information from various regions of the country indicating that children in Tanzania were unprotected in number of ways

Sexual Abuse and Indecent Assault to Children

According to Tanzanian laws, sexual abuse and indecent assault to both children male and female are punishable. For example section 156(1) of the Penal Code, provide that; “Any person who unlawfully and indecently assault a boy under the age of 14 years is guilt of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for life.’’660

Even where the law seem to prohibit sexual abuse and grievous Indecent assault to children has been critical. Consider the case study of Child X,

slide6

CHILD X

‘‘ In May, 2011, Child X was sodomized for 3 days in a row by a 51-year old man, who own a retail shop in Ilemela, Mwanza. The tragedy happened when this old man promised to buy food for Child X at around 9:00 p.m one night on a condition that Child X should go with him to the Guest X. On that night the accessed threatened to kill Child X by using a knife if he refuses to have anal sex with him. Child X felt severe pain and sustained anal injuries when he was sodomized and sadly enough on the next day he was locked in the room for the whole day. These act was repeatedly for three days consecutively, when the Guest owner suspected something was going on as the accused locked the room and did not leave the key for the room to be cleaned. The incident was reported on July 2011 to Pansiasi Police Station, the accused was arrested, but was later granted police bond. Sadly enough Child X was not given Police Form No. 3 (PF3) to undergo treatment.’’ COET has taken the case to court.

slide7

b. Cruelty Against Children

COET understands that domestic violence and brutality shocked many people in 2010 -2011, the record shows that more than 30 children in Mwanza and other areas in Tanzania have been brutally killed by their biological and step parents. In mwanza only between April – September about 4 Street children have been reported brutally killed by local people accused of stealing.

See the table bellow:

slide9

Local community members, police, government actors, street children, local business community, families, schools and religious communities about their perception of children who are living or working on the streets of Mwanza City

How street children see themselves in their community:

How street children think the community sees them:

Figures based on a survey carried out by Caretakers of the Environment, Tanzania, who interviewed 30 children living or working on the streets in Mwanza in October 2011.

slide10

Children’s perception toward police:

‘‘YES the police think we are thieves or conduct crime s while living on the streets, but we are not . Sometimes police come at night looking for us, when we get caught , we get beaten badly ’’

‘‘I never steal anything from anyone, I only beg for some money or food to eat, that’s all.’’

‘‘YES some steal but because they are hungry. They can’t get food or big boys (gangs) they have asked them to steal.’’

Do you think the police should protect you while living, sleeping, or working on the streets? ‘‘Yes we need protection because there are many dangers, but I don’t think the police here they can protecting us, they took money from us / our pocket when they find us sleeping in the pavement threatening to take us to jail.’’

reality of the perception accusations

Mwanza Police:

- ‘‘It is the parents fault their child lives or works on the streets…’’

- ‘‘Street children should not be given money when they ask….’’

- ‘‘Street children should go back home to their families….’’

- ‘‘Street children of 10 – 15 are involved in criminal activity….’’

- ‘‘They need to receive their basic needs like food, clothes, medical care etc…’’

- ‘‘Centres need to reintegrate them back safely to their communities….’’

- ‘‘It is difficult to protect them, how can you protect criminals? But we are happy to get involved and help……’’

Reality of the Perception & Accusations
slide12
What street children think the police’s perception towards them is:

The police’s perception toward street children

Figures based on a survey carried out by Caretakers of the Environment, Tanzania, who interviewed 30 children living or working on the streets and six police stations in Mwanza in October 2011.

slide13

Children’s general perception toward Schools – teachers and students, Hospitals – doctors and Nurses

“I have been sexually abused and I am

now infected with HIV. I am still young. All children need protection and so do we.”

“Other kids at school call me a thief and they will never hang-out with me”

“I would love to go to school but the teacher won’t take me back”

“I never

receive

medical services”

“I got kicked

out of school because I

didn’t have a school uniform or shoes”

slide14

Figures based on a survey carried out by Caretakers of the Environment, Tanzania, who interviewed 30 children living or working on the streets in Mwanza in October 2011.

slide15
General perception toward children living or working on the streets of Mwanza City

“The reason why a child may leave home and go to work or live on the streets could be a sudden drop in family income, loss of support from an adult family member due to illness, death or abandonment, or an episode of domestic violence.”

slide16

Figures based on a survey carried out by Caretakers of the Environment, Tanzania, who interviewed 200 children living or working on the streets , government social workers, business communities, students, policy makers and non governmental organisation and six police stations in Mwanza in October 2011.

slide17

What do affects our real lives

Debora is 14 years old. she says, “I will never forget the way my stepmother treated me. She forced me to sleep on the floor at night though there were enough beds. She used to give me many duties each day and when I could not perform them all she used to beat me; one day she burnt me on my hips with a hot knife. I finally ran away when she put poison in my porridge to try and kill me”.

Adam says "It hurts me when I remember. When I was on the streets I could not sleep because I did not trust any one and was scared because I saw the way other kids were being treated. One night one boy, Isenga was crying. I saw the man called Koko raping him. I decided to run from there. I also saw the dead body of the street boy called Fogo. The other older boys killed him in a fight over money. I did not believe that there are human beings who can behave like animals. It hurts me when I remember.”

changing the reality of perception accusations towards street children

‘‘I used to call them lepers and most people also call them lepers.’’

‘‘We are not lepers, we are normal children, I hate being called lepers, but there’s nothing I can do about it …..it is abuse…’’

‘‘Playing on the Street Child World Cup 2010 has brought a little bit of change of the perception of many people have towards street children….Advocacy on the rights of the child and raising awareness about the risks of children coming or living on the streets.’’

‘‘After playing on the street child World Cup 2010, people don’t call me a street girl any more, I am famous player… I want to play for my country’s women’s national team.’’

Changing the reality of perception & accusations towards street children
slide20

Reference:

________________________________________________________

Human Report 2010 – In Tanzania, Pg176 .- 181.

Child Act, 2009 section 33(1)

Emmanuel Lengwa “Ubakaji waongezeka kwa asilimia saba, Mwanza Nipashe 20th, 2010

Hansard, The Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania, twenty session, fourth meeting 11th June, 2010, Page. 17

Most Vulnerable Children (MVC): Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Department od Social Welfare, Monthly Updates, Issue 3 Volume XVI, November, 2010. Page 1

660Section 138C of the Penal Code;Cap 16 R.E, 2002 of the Law of tanzania