District Social Welfare Officer for Blantyre, Stephano Joseph has expressed concern with parents who allow their children to abscond classes at the expense of betting in most areas within Blantyre City.

In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), Joseph said government ensures that children regardless of the situation are protected from all forms of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect.

“This is the reason why government ensures that services such as schools are available and it is, therefore, important to ensure that parents do not abdicate this responsibility of encouraging their children to focus on their education and not neglecting them to shun classes for betting,’’ Joseph said.

He cited section 3 of the Child Care, Protection and Justice Act (2010) which outlines all duties and responsibilities that parents must always refrain from involving children in activities that will affect their education, development and normal growth.

“Parents ought to be aware that children are highly dependent on their parents and others to satisfy their basic needs and this makes them particularly vulnerable,’’ Joseph said.

Meanwhile, Malawi Gaming Board Licensing and Compliance Manager, Mirriam Kumbuyo said the board does not condone such malpractice and that they take action against operators who allow children to participate in betting.

“Betting is for those who are mature and earn their own money and should strictly be taken as a source of entertainment and not a source of income. Parents should not allow children because these games can be addictive and can harm them if rules are not followed,’’ Kumbuyo said.

She said the board works with different stakeholders like the community policing in order not to allow underage participation.

Christopher (not his real name), a 14-year-old youth in Ndirande Township said there is no one to stop him from betting since it is his right and that the money he gets from betting helps him and his mother who has no means of earning a living.

Another 16-year-old youth, Kondwani (also not his real name) from Ndirande Township said some children from poor families shun classes for betting since they know that if they are lucky would win more money that can assist them to survive as their parents or guardians hardly provide for them.


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