Former street children
Reports indicate that 3096 former street children were reunited with their families from May last year to May 2021.
The development was announced in Kigali city at the launch of National Rehabilitation Services (NRS) campaign to combat street life, August 24.
The campaign themed “Uruhare rwanjye nawe mu guca ubuzererezi bw’abana b’u Rwanda” translated as My responsibility and your responsibility in eradicating children straying.
Between May 2020 and May 2021, 2641 children who represent 85.3% of street children who were reunited with their families remained in their families.
Other 232 children (7.4%) spend nights with their families but strayed on streets during the day, while 223( 7.3%) children left families and returned to the streets.
Persistent family disputes are believed to be the major issue that sends children to street.
Elisa Niyiturinda, the 13-year-old former street child said that he lived on stealing from traders in Nyabugogo, one of the busiest commercial hubs in Kigali city.
“We used to wake up at 2 PM and go to Nkundamahoro market to steal onions. We would come back late in the evening to sell the stolen goods. However, we could sometimes be arrested and taken back to our families,” Niyiturinda revealed.
“Again, we would escape from our families, and go back on Nyabugogo streets to steal from traders and passing vehicles,” Niyiturinda said.
Blaise Nshimyumukiza, another former street child told Kigali today that he went on the street after failing to accomplish a mobile banking transaction, which he thought, would cost him huge.
“It was in the evening, my father told me to go to the Mobile Money agent and deposit Rwf8000. By mistake, in the process I deactivated the sim card and fearing for my life I decided to go on the street, ” Nshimyumukiza said.
Nyarugenge District, Executive Administrator, Emmy Ngabonziza said that family misunderstandings are major causes of street children.
The Director-General of NRS, Fred Mufulukye said that ‘no Rwandan child should live on the street’.
“No Rwandan child should live on street, meeting challenges does not mean, a child should live on streets as a solution. We should refrain from this,” Mufulukye said.
“As a parents, you should know that you have a responsibility of taking good care of your child.”
The two-month-long campaign will cut across 30 districts of the country, according to NRS.