605 street children and 1250 returnees integrated, reveals FENADEB

National Federation of Associations Defending Children’s Rights (FENADEB) in Burundi has revealed this February 28 that 605 street children and 1250 returnees have been integrated into families within three months since November 2017.

Street children in Bujumbura city

Street children in Bujumbura city

Following the recommendations made in a meeting held in February 2017 between government officials, UNICEF representatives and associations fighting for children’s rights, the government launched a campaign to remove all street children.

“FENADEB has intervened to support the efforts of the government to remove children from the streets since it was not applying the roadmap suggested in the meeting,” said Jean Polydor Ndayirorere, the secretary general of FENADEB.

He wonders if the integrated children will stay in the foster families arguing that they are not aware of the disadvantages of returning to the streets. He is also worried that those families are not able to meet all these children’s needs. “These children need to enjoy their rights to education, food, health care, etc.” he says.

FENADEB calls on the government and the activists fighting for children’s rights to involve children in solving their problems. “One cannot solve children’s problems without consulting them,” says Ndayirorere.

The phenomenon of street children dates from 1993 and has been aggravated by wars that occurred in Burundi. The survey conducted by the Ministry of Human Rights in 2010 in three major cities of Burundi namely Bujumbura, Gitega and Ngozi revealed that there were more than 3,000 street children. Children rights activists believe that the number of street children increased following the 2015 crisis.