Street begging a cash cow


Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 08:45
This amount is more than low-income jobs like domestic work, gardening, car washing and pool cleaning, amongst others, generate monthly.  
Vernard !Naribib, a 44-year-old street beggar at the Hidas complex in Klein Windhoek told Informanté that begging for money makes him and his family up to N$70 per day.
!Naribib, who is originally from Gobabis, said that him and his two nephews, age 13 and 18, currently stay at Kapps Farm so as to stay nearer to town and cut down on travelling.
According to them, they started last year after the teenage boys got kicked out of school and couldn’t handle the beatings allegedly given to them by the caretakers at the Gender Ministry aftercare school programme.  
“ Our mother passed away long ago and our father is in jail , so we come here to beg every day and we use the money we get to buy food and also for taxi to go back home,” says the younger teenager.
 Minister of Gender and Child Welfare, Doreen Sioka, at a conference held last week urged the public to refrain from dishing out money to the street kids as it only motivates them to stay on the street or to use the money for alcohol and sniffing glue instead of food.
She encouraged the public to rather refer the street kids to her ministry as it has initiated an after-school reintegration programme that caters to the needs of the street kids currently roaming the streets of Windhoek. 
“The ministry has successfully reintegrated 125 children who were on the streets in the past into the aftercare school programme and this is serious progress from our side,” she said.
According to Sioka, the ministry does face challenges in integrating older street children due to school age limit requirements. 
“The integration of older children is a challenge as they can’t be placed into mainstream schools due to being overage and we as the ministry have tried to integrate them into vocational institutions but they unfortunately do not meet the required criteria,” she added. 
Social worker at the gender ministry, Amelia Musukubili, added that the number of street kids at the moment constantly change because some of the children taken off the streets and placed into the after school care programme always find themselves back on the streets begging, because of the incentives. 
Musukubili further noted that some of the street kids receive vulnerable special grants, but are pulled back into the street by elders who use them to beg for money.