About 3.1 million children in Malawi are growing in violent homes, witnessing and experiencing its negative effects, Minister of Gender, Child and Community Development Reen Kachere said yesterday
Kachere made the stunning disclosure when she inaugurated the Day of Prayer and Action for child development in Lilongwe on Thursday.
She said that apart from the 3.1 million, one in three girls aged between 15 to 19 are married and one in four children are experiencing child labour.
Kachere said 12,000 children are living in child headed homes while 6,000 children are living in institutional care, whilst 11 percent of the children do not live with their parents even though both parents are alive.
“We all need to reflect on these statistics for us to realize just how much abuse the children of this country are going through. All of us collectively contribute to the abuses that our Malawian child goes though and collectively must stop the abuses,” said Kachere.
Kachere added that other children are in detention with adults, 2 to 3 girls experience sexual abuse by the age of 16, one in 3 boys experience sexual abuse by the age of 16 and 9 in 10 children do not have their birth registered.
“We need to come to a point where we all must accept the fact that by not doing anything to stop the abuses, we are in fact contributing towards those abuses,” said Kachere.
UNICEF Representative Carrie Aur said that protecting children from violence is a major challenge that requires every one’s involvement because many children in Malawi are living with violence or the fear of violence every day.
“Many of the country’s one million orphans live in poor communities that are unable to provide optimum care and protection, leaving the children vulnerable to violence. Equally troubling is the prevalence of child labour with 25 percent of children engadec in it,” said Aur.