Harare – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, on 28 September 2018, handed over to the Government of Zimbabwe, a newly refurbished children’s shelter at Chambuta Children’s Home in Chiredzi District, South East of Zimbabwe. IOM remodelled the shelter with funding from the United States’ Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), will cater to unaccompanied and separated children among other children in need.
The South-eastern part of Zimbabwe hosts a transit route to South Africa through Beitbridge Border Post and to Botswana through Plumtree Border Post. The route is used by both local Zimbabweans and third country nationals migrating to and from South Africa and Botswana.
The two border posts experience some mixed migration flows comprising documented and undocumented migrants, including unaccompanied minors and children. Irregular migrants apprehended by law enforcement agents in Zimbabwe are remanded. Children’s homes like Chambuta ensure migrant children are protected.
The Government of Zimbabwe is working with IOM and other international and local partners in implementing the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Regional Action Plan on Mixed and Irregular Migration 2016-2018, under which the protection of unaccompanied minors is a key priority.
Speaking at the official handover ceremony, the IOM Chief of Mission in Zimbabwe, Lily Sanya, noted that IOM recognizes that Southern Africa comprises of countries of origin, transit and destination for irregular migrants including unaccompanied migrant children who move within regional mixed migration flows, often travelling without documentation.
“IOM provides capacity building support to governments in six countries in the (SADC) region, including Zimbabwe, to improve migration management at both the operational and policy levels to manage migration in a humane and orderly manner, with a specific focus on upholding the rights of vulnerable migrants,” she said.
Sanya further noted that the protection of vulnerable unaccompanied and separated migrant children was important to IOM’s work, hence the newly refurbished shelter will provide an improved place of safety for children in need.
Dr. Judith Kateera, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare reiterated that her ministry will endeavour to continue to provide support to vulnerable migrants especially the unaccompanied migrant children. “The gesture by IOM goes a long way in complementing government effort in supporting the children. Private-public partnerships such as these are important in supporting the needy in communities,” she added.
IOM refurbished the shelter under a regional project entitled Addressing Irregular and Mixed migration flows in Southern Africa Phase 8 which is being implemented in six Southern African countries to address challenges related to mixed and irregular migration.