Over fifty percent of children in Makokoba do not have birth certificates, Justice for Children Trust has revealed.
Justice for Children ensures access to justice to and the enjoyment of human rights by all children below the aged of 18 years through, the provision of legal aid to children in difficult circumstance, empowering the children and adults on child protection laws and child rights and responsibilities, and research on issues affecting children and advocating for reform.
Speaking on the sidelines of a child protection awareness clean-up campaign held in Makokoba on Saturday, the organisation said most of the children are forced to drop out of school due to lack of proper documentation.
“These children without birth certificates cannot write their public examinations, leading to them dropping out from school,” said Clifford Nyathi, a paralegal with the organisation.
He stated that some of the causes for lack of documentation are high fees required to be paid at the registrar general`s offices by parents with children born out of the country.
“There is a huge challenge with children born outside the country,” said Nyathi.
“These children are smuggled into Zimbabwe, without proper papers to attain birth certificates. They are required to pay US$50 at the registrar general`s office, which most parents cannot afford”.
He said there are also children left with grandparents who become reluctant to apply for birth certificates because of the cumbersome process.
“When they go to Msitheli to apply for their grandchildren’s documents, they are requirements which sometimes they do not have, leading them to give up on the process,” he stated.
Nyathi said the fees charged by government should be scrapped to minimise the number of children without identification documents.
He added that children in Makokoba also face inheritance issues and lose out on properties to greedy relatives who take over their deceased parents’ estates.
“Most houses in Makokoba belonged to people who are now deceased. This has resulted in families fighting over the estate. Remaining children end up losing houses to other relatives because of lack of knowledge,” he said.
Justice for Children Trust has in the past assisted some of the affected children to regain control of the estates.