In a significant move towards addressing the issue of street children and empowering vulnerable youth, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services has distributed start-up tools worth K14 million to over 520 graduates of the Zambia National Service (ZNS) Skills Training program conducted in 2022.
The distributed tools encompass a diverse range, including industrial sewing machines, food production equipment, shoe-making machines, and metal fabrication equipment.
The initiative is part of a collaboration between the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services and the Ministry of Defence, aiming to equip marginalized youth, particularly those living on the streets, with valuable skills for a better future.
During the official handover ceremony, Ms. Doreen Mwamba, the Minister of Community Development and Social Services, reiterated the government’s dedication to removing children from the streets and facilitating their integration into mainstream society.
She highlighted the urgency of addressing the issue of street children, referring to it as a potential time bomb that could lead to an increase in hardcore criminal activities, posing a threat to the peace of the nation.
Ms. Mwamba urged the beneficiaries of the start-up tools to utilize them effectively, emphasizing the importance of these tools in transforming the lives of the youth.
Additionally, Ms. Sheal Mulyata, the Lusaka Province Minister, commended the Ministry for its efforts in empowering the youth.
She expressed optimism about the positive impact the skills and tools would have on the lives of the recipients, particularly noting that Lusaka Province contributed the largest number of trainees, totaling 317.
In a parallel development, the USAID Achieve Project has collaborated with the Ministry by handing over essential documents, including the Child Safeguarding Policy, Trainers Manuals, and Case Management Forms.
Marianna Balampama, the Project Regional Deputy Director, emphasized that these documents would play a crucial role in promoting and protecting children’s rights. They provide guidance to stakeholders involved in activities related to children, ensuring a comprehensive and safeguarded approach.
She emphasized that this initiative marks a significant step towards addressing social issues, fostering skill development, and securing a brighter future for vulnerable youth in Zambia.