The Zambian government is planning to recruit about 1,000 children living on streets countrywide next month in an effort to address the social problem caused by poverty and widespread HIV/AIDS, The Post quoted an official as reporting on Monday.
"There is so much interest now as more children want to be removed from the streets and integrated into these programs," Bobby Samakai, permanent secretary of the Sport, Youth and Child Development Ministry, was quoted as saying.
"There are two camps that can get about 700 children and there is another new camp in Kasama that can take 300 children for the recruitment. We are talking about recruiting about 1,000 street children," Samakai said.
He said the recruitment exercise would commence next week but the program of taking them would begin in October to November.
There are altogether 15 camps allocated in the country's nine provinces providing basic skill training to the recruited street children, said Samakai, adding that the criterion was to take the most vulnerable who had no parents and nowhere to go first.
"But the number is growing on the streets and what we are doing is that we want to trace the roots of some of these children so that they are integrated into their families," he said.
According to official estimates, at least 75,000 children are living on the streets in Zambia as HIV/AIDS orphans or victims of poverty.
Zambia has an adult HIV prevalence rate of 16.5 percent. About 73 percent of the country's 11 million people are living in poverty.