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Social plan for street kids, child scavengers

By SEAN DOUGLAS Friday, August 24 2007

CHILD scavengers at landfills such as the Beetham dump are being targeted by a public scheme aimed at getting them away from such a lifestyle. This was disclosed in the Budget document the “Social Sector Investment Programme 2008,” in an appendix on the initiatives for the past fiscal year.

The document states the Ministry of Social Development runs a programme aimed at children working at dump sites, children at risk of being drawn into child labour and families living at dump sites.

The scheme emphasises schooling of the children and assistance for their families. Only last week, a man who along with his family live in the Forres Park landfill in Central Trinidad was chopped and stabbed to death by other scavengers.

“The Rehabilitation of Child Labourers Programme was developed to address the phenomenon of children scavenging in landfill sites and will be implemented in conjunction with the ILO (International Labour Organisation). Its goal is to withdraw and prevent children working in the Forres Park and Beetham dump-sites,” the document stated.

The scheme advocates education and training for children and on finding economic alternatives for them and their families. “It will seek to provide children with health and other social services and includes activities that would encourage them to remain in school.

It will also assist children from the very poor communities surrounding the dump-site to avoid turning to scavenging”. The Ministry also runs a programme of Foster Care/Kinship Care and Adoption, said the document. The document said the Ministry will launch a new scheme to help fiances with issues including sexual intimacy, entitled, “Marriage Preparation: Beyond the Vows/Commitment”.

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