We hope your youth month has been a fulfilling one thus far. In the the last blog post, we spoke about changing the narrative and tackling problems that the youth of today faces, child-headed families popped up. This is a forever neglected topic and we need to start talking about it.

As the name clearly states, child-headed families are homes that are driven and supported by minors under the age of 18. Usually, this is a result of children who have lost their guardians and cannot be taken in by any other family members. In some cases, the guardians are too sickly to be able to provide for the children. Imagine! Children who are meant to be enjoying their youth years having to take on adult responsibilities.

This is wrong on so many levels.

Children all over our country are deprived of emotional and financial support for optimal education and growth. Instead, they have to provide this for themselves and to their younger siblings. This is not only physically draining but emotionally draining too. It doesn’t end here.

Vulnerability to exploitation and abuse increases because the children are not receiving proper adult care. All of this leads us back to the cycle of poverty. Yes, poverty, due to the simple fact that the child headed households lack resources, funds and opportunities. In most cases, the older siblings have to drop out of school in order to be able to provide for their younger siblings, barely scraping by.

In order to stop situations like this from happening, we need to address the bigger issue. Why are parents dying, neglecting their children or becoming too sick to look after them? Epidemics like HIV and Malaria are huge causes of death and sickness. Do you think that our health sector is doing enough about this? Do you think that the government is? And if they are, are we producing enough doctors that remain in the country to help these people?

Why are parents forced to neglect their children? Is poverty not being adequately dealt with? Taking a look at and solving these problems is the way to resolve the issue of neglected, exploited and abused children.

We hope we have captured your attention. As TSA strongly believes, we need to provide solutions to the problems we acknowledge and try to break them down. 

As individuals we could help these organisations by identifying child headed families that we know and open them up to the organisations. Working together will create more efficiency and greater results. Let’s get to work!

And to those children who are living with or have lived with and experienced this, we salute your strength and your courage. It is a responsibility that you should not have to take on and that is what we want to change.