The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has expressed concern over the increasing cases of child neglect and youths engaged in sports betting saying this is affecting the future generation.
While launching the SOS ‘Youth Can’ initiative aimed at transitioning youths into responsible adult life at Kampala Serena Hotel,Wednesday, 30 May 2018, Kadaga said the proportion of the national population that are children was growing yet parents are not keen on nurturing them.
“When I go for functions, I realize that about 60 per cent of people attending my rallies are young children. This worries me on whether there is anyone looking after them,” said Kadaga.
The Speaker also noted that youths especially teenagers were not being disciplined well saying, “as I drive in the evenings, I notice young children heading to town and wonder if they have received permission from their parents to go out dressed the way they do”.
She cited Cuba where children aged three years are trained practically using gadgets like computers to enable them develop their talents and careers at a young age.
She urged the SOS Children’s Villages to pick a leaf.
“This will help us to change the attitude of many Ugandans that vocational training is for people who are not doing well. That is where money, skills and early employment are,” said Kadaga.
The State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Hon. Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi commended SOS Uganda for taking care of abandoned children across the country.
She added that Uganda still had a challenge of unlicensed children’s homes, which needs to be addressed by Government.
“A children’s home should get children from Police or partner registered homes. It is illegal for one to hold someone’s child if that child has not been given to you and documented by Police,” said Nakiwala.
The minister noted that children from Karamoja on Kampala streets had become a commercial venture and called for the Speaker’s intervention in reducing their numbers.
Olive Lumonya, the National Director SOS Children’s Villages Uganda appreciated the support from development partners, saying that the problem of child abandonment was on the rise.
“The number of children who need childcare is ever growing. If we strengthen the family, we can reduce cases of abandonment and abuse of children,” Lumonya said.
The event on youth empowerment through multi stakeholder partnerships was graced by directors and delegates from SOS support agencies including DHL International, dfcu Bank, Pride Microfinance, MTN Uganda and Civil Aviation Authority among others.
SOS Children’s Villages Uganda was incorporated in 1991 and is based in four regions including Kakiri, Gulu, Fort Portal and Entebbe. It has raised over 60,000 children and imparted them with vocational and life skills.