Zimbabwe’s forgotten children
Little Esther worries that if she dies her sick mother will be left alone to care for her little sister. She however declares that if her mother is to die, she will go to the grave with her. Very deep thoughts from a young child shouldering a burden that grown ups shy away from. One little child says, all she would like is for someone to talk to. How often have we walked past such children and barely even noticed them. We have become conditioned and no longer see this great scourge in our midst.
What will become of these forgotten children? What are we going to do about these children?
The following are some of the major reasons why
Of the 1.2 million orphans in Zimbabwe, more than 890,000 were orphaned due to HIV/AIDS.
The following are some of the reasons why the number of orphans is increasing.
In Zimbabwe, refraining from physical discipline is seen as a sign of weakness in a parent. Because of this and other factors, Zimbabwe has disturbingly high rates of child abuse, both physical and sexual.
Approximately 68% of the population of Zimbabwe lives below the national poverty line and unemployment is outrageously high.
With the severity of the economic conditions in Zimbabwe, abandoning children is quite common.
Approximately 13% of children in Zimbabwe are engaged in child labor. This is not only physically and emotionally harmful to the child, but also interferes with educational opportunity.
A lot needs to be done to stop the constant increase in the number of orphans. I believe Zimbabweans need to take responsibility. We can start by getting our ubuntu in check. Gone are the days when relatives just dropped by and camped by yours for days, weeks or even months. These days, many do not even have the resources to get to relatives and most relatives have a lot on their shoulders.