Zambia: Kabwe Social Workers Rescue Five Children From Prison
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
3 May 2008
Posted to the web 5 May 2008
THE social welfare department in Kabwe has withdrawn five children, among them a five-month-old baby, from Mukobeko maximum prison.
The children, whose mothers are incarcerated for various offences, have been transferred to foster homes.
Central Province social welfare officer, Roselyn Chitambala, said yesterday that the children were salvaged from the depressing prison conditions on Thursday last week.
Social workers inspected the prison and discovered that the conditions were not suitable for the children who were stuck with their mothers.
Ms Chitambala said the youngest child was aged five months while the oldest is four years old.
They were withdrawn from Mukobeko prison under the child care programme of the social welfare department.
Two of the children were taken to Kafwa Home within Kabwe while the other three were taken to the Child Care and Adoption Society of Zambia transit home in Ndola.
Ms Chitambala said the children would be in foster care for as long as their mothers remained in jail.
Upon being freed from prison, the mothers, who supported the transfer of their children to the two foster homes, would be at liberty to retrieve them.
The mothers were adequately counselled before the infants were withdrawn from them.
Ms Chitambala said it was necessary for the social welfare department, as its stautory obligation, to re-socialise the children positively in more civilised environments than in prison dungeons.
She said the department would continue inspecting prisons to protect the lives of children trapped in there.
In a related development, the Child Care and Adoption Society has declared that Zambia will not be used as a front for child trafficking and vices that violate the rights of children.
The organisation has called for stronger punitive measures against child traffickers and those abusing the Adoption Act.
Out-going society president, Moses Banda, said adoption had been grossly abused in recent years and called on Zambians to take a leading role in matters of adoption instead of leaving such to foreigners.
Mr Banda said this at a Press briefing in Livingstone yesterday.
"Adoption is free for all and there are a lot of children in transit homes who need to be adopted. Zambians should adopt these children and should not be afraid of the long legal process involved," he said.
He bemoaned the influx of orphanages and transit homes that thrive on sending children out of the country.
"We need to ensure that children are adopted for decent reasons other than abuse."
He said transit and childcare homes should meet acceptable standards.
Earlier, the election of new office bearers saw Richard Chella ascend to the top as the new Child Care and Adoption Society national president.
Edwin Mbulo scooped the position of vice-president while the national treasurer is Mwembe Kaona.
Committee members are Mwape Mushili from Livingstone, Peter Chishimba (Mpika), Agatha Litebele (Lukulu), Bethwell Chikota (Kabwe) and Gilbert Mubanga from Ndola.
Others are Mary Phiri, Vivian Njovu, Robert Munkombwe, Jocelyn Sinkolongo, MacDonald Chilepa, and Freda Mukonka from Lusaka.