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Children the world all over are regarded as an indispensable asset to the development of any nation. However, in Sierra Leone today, the vulnerability and the neglected state of children is becoming worrisome for the citizenry including child rights activists.
The significance of children in the development of every nation has been the beacon or light house where people look for future direction. In essence, when the welfare of children, more especially so in post-conflict Sierra Leone is being kept at bay, one is in a confused state of mind of what would become of its immediate future.
The high rate of street begging, especially by children as young as six to nine years of age in both Freetown and other parts of the provinces is becoming a national menace. Let’s imagine a nation with no children to meet tomorrow’s challenges in life. Obviously, a nation that has a substantial number of her children actively engrossed in street begging is bound for stagnation and retrogression in its future human resources.
It is now a common scene when you walk around the streets of Freetown to come across children begging from people. Even school going pupils are in this derogatory attitude of begging transport fare from passers-by, this is completely embarrassing and ridiculous for small country like Sierra Leone. By the look of things, it seems in the presence of the high concentration of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) backed up by Government efforts, nothing is being done to salvage the plight of children in this country.
Child begging in the streets of Freetown in areas such as Pademba Road and along Siaka Stevens Street is a social menace not only to Sierra Leoneans but also to foreign nationals who are expecting that Government and Child rights activists would have put a sustainable child welfare scheme in place. “Ironically, if the fate of children in this country is being drafted to beggary, one wonders what would be the gleam for tomorrow?” lamented one foreign investor. He further expressed that more effort should have been pumped by Government and Child protection agencies in seeing to it that children are well catered for. In the absence of no sustainable child welfare programme, it is conspicuous that Sierra Leone is building its foundation on quick sand that will soon engulf its future wealth.
A fruitful nation must be built on a solid rock of children well planned and catered for. Countries like the USA and the United Kingdom can boast of having prosperous nations today because they invest thoroughly in the welfare of children. Certainly, these countries highlighted here have realized the realities of investing in children today due to the fact that they prioritized the welfare in their developmental must-do lists.
The increase in child beggary in Sierra Leone is an ominous omen for the country’s future. The beggary syndrome among children symbolizes excessive hopelessness in the country’s future. If Sierra Leone’s dependable children beg in the streets, what do we expect of adults who are supposed to serve as a lamp post for them? It is in this direction that concerned citizens of this country are calling on the Freetown City Council (FCC) to do more in securing Sierra Leone’s future that is on the verge of collapsing due to the neglected state of children.
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