Help underprivileged children


DURING preparations for the 2018 Apec Summit, Port Moresby’s homeless children were taken away and the streets were free of them momentarily.
But within only a few weeks of the event, they returned – apparently with a vengeance.
Without any concerted effort to take them away from streets and keep them at home or in school, their numbers are growing steadily.
While the problem is still manageable today, all concerned authorities, including State agencies should tackle this urban problem head on not only in Port Moresby but other centres as well.
This has to be done to avoid any future humanitarian catastrophe later that may become too difficult to handle.
There are individuals or institutions doing a wonderful job in providing care and education for such neglected or abandoned children.
Government legislation such as the Lukautim Pikinini Act 2009 and policy guidelines from State agencies responsible for child protection are all there to guide any programme or institution for neglected children.
However, providing care for such children should not be seen as taking away the fundamental responsibility of the parents away from them.
None of these children had asked to be born.
The onus of care should fall back on those responsible for giving life to them.
The law is clear and State agencies responsible for enforcing child protection and justice need to identify the parents concerned and establish whether they are genuinely unable to provide for their children or are simply neglecting their duty. In the case of simple neglect, the parents should be held accountable.
Only in cases of orphans who genuinely need help, should such help be given.
The Department of Community Development, Youth and Religion has it all worked out in policy, but it may be lacking the necessary resources, manpower and simple human compassion or empathy to take care of such children.
There are orphanages and other institutions operating with goodwill support from corporate citizens who are quite capable of doing this.
For instance, a couple who both hold day jobs, have been running a successful programme to cater for street children in the Gerehu suburb of Port Moresby.
Their charity, Life PNG Care, has been providing a home and education in for several hundred such children for years now.
Elsewhere in the city, similar organisations are providing care and an education for homeless children.
Rather than “doing its own thing”, the Government, through its various agencies involved with child welfare and justice, would do well to engage such institutions and where possible, provide them necessary assistance, whether financially or by simply giving them formal recognition and acknowledgement.
There needs to be a convergence of government policy and practical action on implementing these policies to give a hope and a sure future for these unfortunate children who, like others, can be described as an undiscovered gold mine. Society cannot ignore and will away this growing band of street kids.
While those who are able to provide good care and education for their children may boast about the bright future ahead of them, such a future will nevertheless be not without the unfortunate children who grow up in a parallel environment of lack and poverty as well.
Out-of-school kids fend for themselves and become streetwise in ways that may seem unsavoury to the rest of society.
The future will be there both for the well cared-for and educated as well as the unfortunate uneducated poor.
Spending State funding or other resources on the less fortunate children either directly or through charity organisations is an investment in itself.