By ZiMSN Communications Department
Readers of Zimbabwe Digital News will be aware of this story that has been running on these platforms for the past weeks. For those who are not in the know, here is the lowdown.
On July the 9th, the Zimbabwe Migrant Support Network got a call from a lady who was identified as Mai Vee, who was in Johannesburg en-route to Port Elizabeth.
She told ZiMSN that there were two Zimbabwean boys (stranded) at a garage where she was looking for transport to Port Elizabeth – and one of them was looking sick.
An arrangement was made for the boys to come along with Mai Vee and they arrived in PE on the 10th of July.
When the organization, through the head of Social welfare department Ms Otillia Chiorese engaged them – it was found that the two boys are not related as they had initially indicated to Mai Vee. They boys met in Limpopo – by accident.
ZiMSN established that one of the boys – now identified as Innocent (13), left Zimbabwe around January for unclear reasons.
The other one – now identified as Emmanuel (15), left Zimbabwe on the 13th of June after he had stolen money from his parents and ran away.
ZiMSN managed to track the parents of both boys and plans are already underway for the parents to come and fetch their children.
Zimbabwe Migrants Support Network Secretary General Shelton Chiyangwa has offered to accompany the kids and their parents back to Zimbabwe.
But what are some of the underlying issues in this matter, and how did ZiMSN manage to trace the parents of these boys?
1. ZiMSN resorted to various social media platforms to send ours alerts in search of the parents to these two boys.The organisations runs 25 full watsapp groups and well as Facebook pages and groups. This has helped in locating the relatives easily since many people are now exposed to social media.
How did the parents of the two boys respond after ZiMSN contacted them?
2.The parents were filled with mixed feelings upon hearing the word that the children were found alive. It is never easy to continue to live a normal life if you are not aware of there whereabouts of your child particularly a minor.
Emmanuel’s father who stays in Masvingo was actually in tears and pleaded with the ZiMSN leadership to help him take care of the boy whilst he makes plans to have his son reunited with him.
The family has been in contact almost everyday which clearly indicates that they can’t wait to have their children re-joining the family. On the other hand Innocent’s mother in Mberengwa was filled with gratitude.
She narrated how the economic hardships forced the boy to flee. She has pleaded with the organisation to help her son be rehabilitated as he has been staying on the streets for a long time.
What do the boys needs right now?
3.These boys need rehabilitation and counselling as well as love. Living on the streets for a long time has turned them to be hardcore young men who do not even behave like their age. The challenges on the streets has forced them to even craft lies so as to attract public sympathy and support.Professionals who deals with such cases needs to be engaged as adviced by our social worker Otilia Chiorese.
We understand that a few days ago they ran away, and then came back?
4. A few days ago the boys decided to take their small bag and ran away heading for Cape Town. One would wonder why especially after they are staying in a place of comfort and love with food and all the care. The mentality of wanting to hit back to the streets might have struck them again.We sent out an alert to look for them but surprisingly in the evening they returned home and humbly apologized for that wrong doing. They had promised that such will not happen again.We however has as an organisation maximised security.
Are they related?
5.When we received these boys from Johannesburg they told us that they were brothers. Our social worker then had sessions with them after they had settled in and comfortable and it was at this stage that they disclosed that they are not siblings and that they only met in Messina. All the stories were being created to seek public sympathy.
ZiMSN has noted with concern such very unfortunate situations. The boys disclosed that there are a lot more Zimbabwean kids leaving on the streets and it’s really a cause for concern. We wish to appeal to the world out there and the business community to support us to help these and many others on the streets to reunite with their families and be rehabilitated.
The situation back home has really caused families to break up leading to even minors fleeing the country. Zimbabwe Migrant Support Network continues to be committed to the cause to stand in for the lives and welfare of our people in South Africa and be the voice of the voiceless.
Comment on this report: Call/text/whatsapp: (+27) 834767918