No Safe Homes in Oshana, Ohangwena

CHILDREN of mothers who are jailed in the Oshana and Ohangwena regions are left to fend for themselves because there are no safe homes to care for them.

Ohangwena chief social worker Lydia Shipwata told members of the National Council in Oshakati yesterday that many of the children who are dumped and abandoned end up on the streets because most people are not willing to adopt them.

The National Council standing committee on gender, youth and information technology is touring the regions to access the situation in prisons and police cells.

“Community awareness remains a challenge for social workers because the community is not willing to cooperate with us. We also face the challenge of a lack of social workers in the region,” said Shipwata.

Shipwata said there were no reported cases of mothers being incarcerated with their babies in police holding cells in Ohangwena region though.

A senior social worker in Oshana, Lydia Ipinge, echoed the same sentiments saying her office faces many challenges among them child offenders who are rejected by their families as well as victims of abuse who withdraw cases.

The assistant commissioner at Oluno prison, Benhard Rooinasie, said the female section needs to be expanded because there are only two single cells for offenders with babies and these get overcrowded at times. He also said the prison has not had a social worker since May last year.

“There is not enough space in the female section to separate mothers with babies from the other offenders. Currently, there is only one offender who is breastfeeding but she is in a separate cell with her baby,” he said.

Rooinasie also said there are five juveniles at the prison but they are housed in a separate cell.

The committee will determine the measures to be implemented to ensure that the rights of minor children are protected and their safety is ensured when their mothers are in custody and no relative or friend is willing or able to take care for them.

The committee is chaired by NC member Germina Shitaleni.

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Latest comments

Why are famioly members and friens so haertless, how are they not willing to take care of the helpless children, where are they suppose to go while their mothers are in prison? Stop being so heartless and be there for one another and help each other. Why dont the Government build a house for such children to be taken care of by social workers or people who are willing to look after the children? These children needs a roof over their heads, food to eat and protection. I wish I had money to build such a house and take care of these children. Lord please protect each and every one of these children. – Michelle | 2014-07-10 08:10:00 || Comment id: 44643

Total article comments: 1

Source : The Namibian

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