Accounting for all our children

Though long overdue, the plan by the Department of Social Development to establish a database of orphans and child-headed families ought to be welcomed.

Though long overdue, the plan by the Department of Social Development to establish a database of orphans and child-headed families ought to be welcomed.

The move confirms that not only are the government and civil society morally responsible for the custodianship of these vulnerable children but are also obliged to protect them from possible abuse and exploitation.

Most of these children were left destitute after their parents died from Aids-related illnesses. Some live without shelter and have to fend for themselves under extremely difficult conditions.

Their suffering, however, could soon be a thing of the past should the government's latest plan be successfully implemented.

Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya this week announced that his department was compiling a national database to determine where orphans and vulnerable children lived so that they can determine how to help them.

This plan should streamline management and coordination of programmes aimed at improving the children's access to state assistance. No longer will such assistance be dispensed in an ad hoc or random manner, without proper coordination at provincial level.

Current interventions by government and non-governmental organisations ensure that these children gain access to such things as food, skills, training and psycho-social support.

The government will surely need the help of all in our society to ensure these interventions make a huge difference in the children's lives.

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