By Kayitare Jean B.
Kinyaga cell, Bumbogo sector, Gasabo district in the City of Kigali there is a time bomb of street children ticking. In the newly built famously known as ‘Kwa Sekimondo Estate’, street children form the rural part of Musave and Bumbogo trading centers come begging for food items and money from residents of the Estate and every person passing by.
Lambert Mpayimana, a shopkeeper in Kinyaga cell adjacent to the ‘Kwa Sekimondo Estate’ says; “the street children around here are a serious growing problem. Most of them like coming to beg and pick materials from the garbage cans from the houses around the Estate. Some come in the morning hours and others in the afternoon”
‘Kwa Sekimondo Estate’
Rosa Marie Claire, a housemaid in one of the houses below the ‘Kwa Sekimondo Estate’ says; “most of the street children come from Musave cell and they come asking for food and money every time. They keep claiming that they are orphans but, we do not have proof of that. It really disturbs because they keep ringing the door bells all the time.”
Among these street children have parents of guardians persay, not all of them are orphans or homeless as they claim. Joseph Habimana a teacher with Ecole St. Rhita in Kinyaga cell says’ “as a teacher and a parent I got interest in knowing the problem of these street children always coming at the school compound to ask for food and water, when I talked to some of them they claimed they had parents their parents remained in the small boutiques where they buy local brew for small amounts of money while waiting for their children to come back and bring them more money they may have made.”
Street children talk
A young boy a 10 year-old is one of the many street children who roam the neighbourhood of Kinyaga cell, Bumbogo sector says; “everyday we leave our place down in Musave with my mother and come to the ‘Kwa Sekimondo Estate’ to beg for money and food. Because that is where the rich people live. My mother tells me if I don’t bring something I shouldn’t come back home I end up doing all I can in order to get her at least 500. When things fail and I see an opportunity in houses where they forgot to lock the gates I steal like basins and buckets then sell it at a cheaper price and get the money for her.”
A young girl who is 8 year-old says she was one day caught while trying to steal from one of the construction site and was beaten and her hand got fractured after she got treated she stopped the habit and now she turned to the job of collecting plastics and selling them at the collection point. She earns very little but it cannot be enough to take her to school.
Bumbogo Sector reacts
According to Nyamutera Innocent, the Executive Secretary, Bumbogo Sector the problem had not come to light until the media wrote about it. He says’ “We did not know about the problem but since it came to our attention we will look into the matter with different stakeholders and see how to solve the problem. We do not have any special treatment to families with such problems we only refer to the Social Clusters and categories specified by the law.”
The parents who misuse the proceeds provided by VUP could be punished by the Organic-Law-Instituting-the-Penal-Code-Rwanda-2012 Article 624: which over sees the Use of public property for purposes other than the one it was provided for.
A total of 1,087 street children were interviewed in the selected 11 Districts. A majority of the children living in the streets were males, accounting for 86.6% of the children in the streets. Female children only made 13.4% of the street children population. This number does not include those kept in different transit centers throughout the country such as Gikondo Transit Center and others located at the districts levels.
Gasabo District where Bumbogo Sector is located has total population of children under the age of 17 is 347,280. The population of male being 171,637 while that one of female children being 269, 712 respectively, according to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR).