Kids begging out of hunger

2016-02-23 06:00

Children, some as young as three years old, are standing on street corners in Ocean View and begging to fill their stomachs.

The aim is to collect R1 or R1.50, which will get them one or two packets of chips, explains community worker Raymond Katts. This will be enough to keep the hunger pains at bay for them to sleep.

Fill their stomachs“Children from the ages of three beg for money to buy cheap chips to fill their stomachs. One five-year-old once told me he couldn’t come when called because he must beg more to make up his three packets of chips for the night. Many kids go to sleep hungry,” he says.

Katts runs Love in Action Ministries, which feeds around 200 children with a nutritious meal twice a week. However, on the other days, children take to the street to beg, often staying out long after sunset.

Katts is convinced many parents are aware of their children begging and even encourage it.

“It’s really an issue of survival for many of these kids. Last year I had to conduct the funeral of a baby as young as two months. The child died of malnutrition. This really affected me emotionally. Children are not fed nutritional meals and this leads to various sicknesses,” he says.

Johan Kikillus, co-founder of the Ocean View Care Centre, says the centre aims to get as many children as possible off the street and into a classroom. The children, from the age of two and up, are fed two meals and a snack.

“It’s vitally important this kind of work be done. We find parents abdicate their responsibilities and we need to address the issues at home to make a difference,” he says.

Main causesMore intervention is needed, Katts agrees.

“This is such a sad reality in Ocean View and requires intervention from various institutions. I believe the main causes are poverty, unemployment and drug addiction. Many children of addicts are left in the care of the grandparents who themselves struggle to make ends meet,” he says.

“I believe that with intervention from government, businesses and community this can be overcome.”

The provincial department of social development had not commented at the time of going to print.

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