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To the Mass Media in Macedonia Subject: Statement The First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi warns that the action of temporary placement of street children in Daily Centers being undertaken by the Ministry of Labour and Social Politics and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, will not solve the problem of child labour abuse (practicing begging, pimping, prostitution, drugs and other forms of child labour abuse). The Daily Centers for street children are temporary solution given the fact that after only couple of hours spent at the Daily Center, the children are on the streets again. 
In order to provide a better solution of this problem (being a trans-generational problem), we demand more social benefits for these families:

Employment of at least one member of the family, providing a roof over their head, mobilization and engagement of the school’s directors, the mayors, the Ministry of Labour and Social Politics and the Ministry of Education for including of all children in the compulsory educational process. We demand strategic programs from the Ministry of Labour and Social Politics which will stimulate the street children to be included in the pre-school institutions. The same is suggested along with the earlier proposition for increasing of the budget for education in order to provide more classes in the schools and bigger teacher’s staff. On several occasions, we have also suggested to the state institutions: hot meal, shoes, clothes, free books and school material to be provided for every child.  

The state is obliged to perform actions in order to make a birth registration of the street children, to provide them free medical care and immunization.

Within the global campaign for education for all children, we had written guarantees given by the President of the State, Mr.Branko Crvenkovski and the President of the Government of Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Nikola Gruevski during their election campaigns, that during their mandate they will take care of including of all children in the elementary schools. Actually, the right of elementary education is being guaranteed by the Constitution and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In our Daily Center which is not financed this year by the Ministry of Labour and Social Politics, we have decided on our initiative to continue the work we’ve initiated with the children located by the river of Vardar in Aerodrom, Skopje. We’ve provided them food, bath, shoes, clothes, education, entertainment and recreation, all of that by us, by the citizens and business partners. We’ve also undertaken an action of vaccination. These children together with their parents collect secondary goods and they don’t go to school. They simply have to work.

The child’s right to education is a right of every human being. This goes especially for the children, and it’s of vital meaning for their present as for their future. If the state provides free compulsory elementary and quality education for every child, Macedonia will be able to get out of the vicious circle of illiteracy and poverty. At the same time, this is the answer to the problem of child abuse, exploitation and neglect.

Our opinion is that child labour is being abused by the parents in purpose of gaining basic existential needs, and therefore the children are working instead of going to school.

According to our data, there are 2000 children living on the streets in substandard conditions at the present moment in Macedonia, and there are 18.500 children are excluded from the elementary education. Nearly 30% of them are without parental care.

In the past researches realized in Macedonia, the street children are divided in several groups: children without parental care, children with one parent, divorced parents’ children and children living in dysfunctional families.

According to the Bureau for Social Affairs in Skopje, 15.5% of the street children are on pre-school age, 64% are on the age of 7 to 14, 88,5% of them express socially unacceptable behavior and 11,5 % express tolerable social behavior. Thus, we can come to a conclusion that street children, meaning the children mendicants, they present a problem which needs to be approached on an integrative manner. This matter has to be discussed more open-mindedly and by having in mind all the aspects of the problem, not only of the mendacity as such, which is more as one symptom of the real problem. This is not an “ugly picture of the city of Skopje”, but it represents a social problem of the entire society.

The Centres for Social Care do not advance towards the protection of the children from the worst forms of abuse (pimping and sexual abuse for gaining material profit), and they do not take advantage of the mechanism of the parental right deprivation of the parents abusers.

The First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi reminds once again that Republic of Macedonia has ratified the Convention Against Worst Forms of Child Labour and the State has to take these demands and propositions into consideration.

Dragi Zmijanac Ma. Sc
Executive Director and Founder
First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi