Since the financial crisis of 2008 support for street children NGO’s has become more difficult to find in Zambia. Of four organisations looking after street children in Kitwe, only Friends of the Street Children (FOSC) remains.
Romilly’s supporters generously paid for the construction of two dormitories and a borehole for FOSC between 2005 and 2007. Since 2008 Romilly’s charity and supporters have helped to make sure that FOSC can continue to protect children from the disease and brutality of the streets.
Christopher Mulenga who is the chairman of FOSC tells us that in addition to all the usual horrors of street life gangs of criminals are now coercing the children into stealing copper for them. This imposes huge risks on the children. At the very least they risk a criminal record. Since the police shoot copper thieves on sight they may not get to prison, and even if they do they are unlikely to get out alive since in Africa, prison for someone young and defenseless is tantamount to a death sentence.
In order to protect the children Christopher and his colleagues are out between 11 p.m. and 2.00 a.m. ” We have to park the van nearby. When things get dangerous we need a quick get away. If we rescue children from the streets we are taking their labour from the copper thieves. We are their enemies.” Romilly’s supporters have paid for the van and the petrol to go in it.
Once rescued the work has just begun. The remains of the children’s families need to be located so that they may eventually be reintegrated. And while location and negotiation are proceeding the children need to be cared for, domesticated and brought back into the education system.
Help Romilly to help Christopher and his colleagues repair these children’s lives.