Source: Global Press Journal (Washington DC)
By Kudzai Mazvarirwofa
Many rural children in Zimbabwe are destined for poverty because they lack birth certificates or other identity documents and thus can’t take national exams in grade seven that would allow them to continue in school. There are myriad reasons why parents don’t have this documentation, and many don’t realize that it’s a crime not to have it, but various nonprofits are helping them through the difficult process of obtaining the registration.
HARARE, ZIMBABWE — Effias Savhuka shields his eyes with calloused, work-worn hands and gazes at his children. They’re playing at home, outside. On a school day.
“It is not easy to watch your child sit around and do nothing because of circumstances that I, as a parent, have found myself in,” says the 42-year-old father of five.
The children, who range in age from 16 months to 15 years, don’t have the identity documents required to register at school.
Savhuka says he’s been trying to obtain identity documents for the children since he came to Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, in early 2016. He says he visited the Registrar General’s Department in September but was turned away because he didn’t have the proper documents to register their births.
He was told to return to Mount Darwin, the place where his oldest child was born, to get her birth certificate, but that’s a 158-kilometer (98-mile) trip he can’t afford. The family came to Harare so Savhuka could find work amid the country’s severe economic crisis.
He was also told that he needs to bring a water or electric bill, to show proof of residency.
“But where I stay, I do not have access to running water, neither do I have electricity,” he says.
Without identity documents, Savhuka’s children are destined for poverty.