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May 24, 2024
Kampala Daily

Displaced Karamojong children repatriated, enrolled in school

308 children who have been begging on the streets of Kampala have been repatriated and enrolled in schools in the Napak district.

The children aged 5-15 years arrived in Napak on Thursday and were taken to two primary schools that were selected by the district authorities. The children are expected to stay at school for one year without reporting back to their homes or coming in contact with their parents.

While at school, the children shall be under the care of partners such as UWESO, Koinonia, and Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA.

Jovia Akeihangwe, the National coordinator of the KOINONIA organization said that 200 pupils have been enrolled at Lotome Girls Primary School and 108 at Lokodiokodio Primary School in Ngoleriet Sub County.

Akeihangwe said that the organization is offering full support to the pupils for a year as they assess the situation while at school. She added that the pupils will be supported with educational materials, uniforms, and other basic needs needed at school.

Akeihangwe revealed that they shall recruit social workers at every school to help in the supervision of the children and connect them with their parents when they visit them at school.

Zaina Nakubulwa, the children’s welfare supervisor at Kampala Capital City Authority said that the children were rounded up from different streets across the divisions in the city.

Nakubulwa said that the children were initiated into begging which exposed their lives to danger. She said that the KCCA has collaborated with other partners to get the children off the streets and take them for rehabilitation in different centers.

Denis Okori Odiny, the head of programs at UWESO noted that they received children from KCCA in poor health conditions, and many were subjected to medical treatment.

Odiny said that after enrolling children in school, they plan to start sensitizing parents to understand the dangers of child trafficking and to empower them for a better livelihood.

John Bosco Agilu, the Napak District Speaker, said that they have already passed a resolution to keep the children away from their parents for three years as they stay in school.

Agilu said that the move is aimed at breaking the chain of recycling children who often return to the streets after uniting with their parents. He appealed to the government to take charge of the children at school so that they do not return to their homes during holidays.

Agilu also expressed concerns about the water crisis in Lokodiokodio Primary school which he says needs urgent attention to help the pupils.

He observed that the district is grappling with financial constraints to run the probation office that manages children’s affairs. He urged the partners to offer full support to the district to enable them to collect other children who are still on the streets to also come back and join the school.

Agilu urged the partners to consider following up on the children they have repatriated because the district may not have enough capacity to monitor them.

He called upon the development partners to intervene in and support the schools since the district has limited funds to facilitate the rehabilitation process of the children.

Judith Nakoya, the Napak district education officer, noted that through the Embassy of Ireland, two dormitories with sanitary facilities were constructed in the schools to accommodate all the children.

Nakoya also revealed their plans as a district to recruit more primary school teachers and improve the infrastructure to enable the children to study in a conducive environment.

She added that the teachers have taken necessary steps to ensure that the children are integrated with others without stigma.

Last month, Kampala Capital City Authority -City Hall Court sent more than 100 Karamojong mothers back to Napak for rehabilitation and to serve a one-month community service sentence for sending their children to the streets to beg.

The mothers were rounded up by KCCA Law Enforcement Officers from various streets in the city during preparations for the recently concluded NAM and G77 conferences in Kampala.

Source: URN

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