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Over 200 Street Children To Acquire Employment Skills 

By Chris Mbunwe

Street children in Bamenda will soon be trained so that they can be employed and live better lives. A newly created Bamenda-based group, the Professional Association for the Protection of Street and abandoned children, PAPSAB, is charged with the task.

The group, consisting of social workers, teachers, nurses, youth animators, journalists and lawyers have pledged to defend the interest of street children in Cameroon, especially Bamenda. Speaking at the launch of PAPSAB in Bamenda recently, the Executive Director, Thomas Mbakwa Tayong, said the goal of the Association is to help street children to return to their families.  Besides, they hope to train them for gainful employment. 

Mbakwa, who also doubles as Social Affairs Delegate for Mezam, said street children are as a result of broken homes, poor upbringing, juvenile delinquency and the effects of HIV/AIDS etc.  As a consequence, he said, hardened criminals have, over the years, exploited them to perpetrate crime. Mbakwa said the Association will identify over 200 street children in Bamenda and other major towns of Cameroon, assess their basic needs, facilitate their reunion with their families and build their capacities.

The PAPSAB Executive Director expressed gratitude to the Minister of Social Affaires for sponsoring the organisation of a workshop that trained members of the Association to take care of street children, thanks to funds acquired through the HIPC programme of the Bamenda Social Centre. On his part, the Assistant SDO for Mezam, Charles Muma NJi, described the increase in the number of street children as galloping. He cautioned that funds for the project to take care of the street should not be diverted into private pockets. 

The SDO said the birth of PAPSAB will serve as a pilot association in Cameroon. He expressed optimism that PAPSAB will succeed given the fact that the group is made u of professionals.
On hand to drill participants on various topics were; the Director of CENAJES Bamenda, Richard Mbaku, the Regional Secretary of the Cameroon National Human Rights and Freedoms, Nelson Ndi, and a representative of  the Ministry of Social Affairs.

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