THE family unit has been under a lot of strain for a long time now, and when people face added pressure like the economic difficulties and the Covid-19 pandemic, what remained of the little network is likely to buckle.
We refer here to the growing number of child-headed families and the need to spare a thought for them at this time when even adult-headed families are under tremendous pressure. We are aware that Government has put in place measures to assist the vulnerable but are also quite cognisant that the interventions fall short in view of the growing need. It is against this background that we would like to call upon our people not to neglect orphans but try as much as possible to take care of them. Where they cannot take care of such children we believe it is incumbent upon such families to refer the children to departments that can provide them with help.
Elsewhere in this edition we carry an article in which a woman in Bullima District has become a community champion through taking in orphaned children. At the onset of the lockdown in March, authorities rounded up street children in urban areas and provided them with safe places to stay as the country sought to effectively fight against Covid-19.
However, the feeling among rural populations is that some remote areas also need such interventions especially in cases where children have no one to turn to. We believe traditional leadership should play a part in identifying such needy people and mobilise help from the Government and other partners. If such children in difficult circumstances do not get the help they require, they may easily fall into crime or be abused as they try to eke out a living.
We say hats off to the Bulilima woman and urge others within communities to help such cases by either sounding the alarm or taking in some of the children. We raise this because we are not aware how long the lockdown will last and each day tests the children’s resilience and resolve. Also, we need to spread information about the pandemic to the remotest parts of the country and among the young who may lack close family guidance and expose themselves to the virus through ignorance.