KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Government, in cooperation with the Sabah government, United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Sabah Social Welfare Department (Sabah JKMN), is seeking to establish an activity centre co-funded by the European Union for street children.
Their representatives together with Sabah Minister of Health and People’s Wellbeing, Datuk Frankie Poon, inspected the site of the activity centre, which is now under renovation, at the Api-Api Centre here on Tuesday.
After the site inspection, Poon was invited to a seminar held where experiences and views were shared on the project.
Poon said that the state government led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has always shown great concern over issues concerning unemployment, the homeless people and street children.
“We, the Ministry of Health and People’s Wellbeing, needs to support the implementation of this plan to improve the current situation of street children.
“In addition to addressing the needs of street children, we must also understand in depth their background and why they are on the streets in order to formulate solutions to reduce their numbers in the future,” he said in a statement here yesterday.
Poon said the preliminary objective of the project is to reduce the number of street children in the city centre, and to provide a safe space for them to obtain basic services such as food, health, education, and recreational activities.
“The long-term objective is to develop more holistic services, including counselling and child protection. The final beneficiaries of this program will be children on the move who are migrants or forcibly displaced (within Malaysia or across borders), documented/undocumented refugees or stateless children.