Parents in Makueni County have been blamed for abdicating their role of providing care and direction to their children, especially the girl child.
Consequently, the girl child is now engaging in child labour, where they sell bottled water, scrap metals and plastic bottles along the busy Mombasa highway towns.
Besides selling water to long distance drivers, they also trade in bhang and engage in prostitution, with the full knowledge of the parents.
Makueni county children’s co-coordinator Ms Selastine Nthiani said the rot in family values in the area was as a result of parents letting their children lose to do what they wish with themselves, including petty hawking along the Mombasa Highway.
Parents have abdicated their duties of care and allowed the girl child to go herding cattle and begging that results in sexual exploitation, the officer regretted.
She was speaking during a one day sensitisation forum on Child Protection in Wote.
During the forum, the participants were also told that young girls are usually harassed by touts, especially when they go to board matatus as they travel to school.
The participants who were drawn from line government ministries, Non-governmental Organisations and Faith Based Organisations heard that women were also engaging in chewing ‘muguka’.
Cases of women chewing ‘muguka’ in market centres are on the rise. This has made them forget tending to their children, as a result they venture into whatever they want since nobody cares about them, noted Nthiani.
Speaking at the same forum, Makueni Sub County Officer Commanding Police Division (OCPD) Mr. Bosita Omukolongolo said some parents were taking their children to the police station asking that they are put in the cells.
Omukolongolo instead advised the parents to engage their children at the family level, saying it is the best place to solve problems pertaining to children.
Some parents feel that once they bring their children to the police, their problems are solved. They should know some incidents children commit are sensitive. You need to understand your child and talk privately to them and solve your issues at the family level, posed Omukolongolo.
He further challenged parents to desist from being harsh to their children saying they should instead accommodate and accept them unconditionally.
On his part, USAID CASE-OVC Regional Technical Officer Ms Jerusha Chege disclosed that they are targeting 6,893 children from families that have been affected by HIV/Aids in Makueni County.
Ms Chege noted that the children will be identified through Hope Worldwide Kenya and Kitise Rural Development Group who are involved in children matters in the county.
She disclosed that the families will be empowered economically and ensure the children continue with their studies without dropping from school.
Source: Kenya News Agency