Ensuring Next Generation Gets a Better Deal

The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement is carrying out a social awareness and training program as well as carrying out a survey of street children in several parts of Yangon and Mandalay.

According to U Aung Kyaw Moe, director of the Department of Social Welfare the training is ongoing in both cities now.

Yangon’s northern and western districts and five townships from Mandalay – Chan Mya Tharsi, Chan Aye Tharzan, Aung Myay Tharzan, Maha Aung Myay and Amarapura – have been surveyed.

The number of street children below 18 years in age has been recorded in the survey.

According to the survey, there are 164 street children in the two districts in Yangon and 121 street children in the five Mandalay townships.

Most of the street children are either beggars or scavengers of used bottles and cans which they sell. Some of the street children live with families but some live alone.

“We can say that 50 percent of the training process has been done but the remaining steps are very challenging which we will have to take time to implement,” said U Aung Kyaw Moe.

He added that they are expecting to finish the whole process by the end of 2017.

According to the director, there are four steps in the process and the first one is getting information and number of the street children. The second, he said, is providing social awareness through training.

The next step is family reintegration or rehabilitation.

This step helps the street children to get back their life and the last step is to take legal action against those who control and force the children to beg.

“It will take a long time to get children off the streets, not only in a developing country like ours but also in developed countries,” the director explained.

“Poverty is not the only reason for children being on the street,” he added.

U Aung Kyaw Moe said that there are various reasons why children roam the streets but the biggest one is poverty.

He also noted that there were other causes such as the death of parents and peer pressure from other street children.

Sometimes children from rich families also end up on the streets in order to avoid pressure from parents, he added.

The survey that started last June, only covers Yangon and Mandalay townships. There are plans to extend the survey to other towns, according to the ministry.

The ministry is working together with international NGOs and hopes to provide the children with education, health and parental care.

“The numbers of street children will increase and situation will get worse if we don’t act now,” U Aung Kyaw Moe told The Myanmar Times.


Source: The Myanmar Times

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