Monday, 21 April 2008 8:10 AM

Calls on Government to Build Care Centres

Home Affairs Minister, James Tora, is seeking the government's approval to build at least five Care Centres in Solomon Islands.

Parliament was informed that these Centres are to be managed by churches for people who seek professional help and to train people to become good parents.

Mr. Tora said that this is part of an attempt by the Ministry of Home Affairs to empower the churches to do more in assisting in parenting the country's youths as well as meeting the needs of those who need professional help.

The Home Affairs Minister said that he will be seeking an increase in his Ministry's budgetary allocation to help support these proposed centres.

On the need for the churches to help in parenting needs of young people, Mr. Tora said that good parenting is a rare commodity in our communities today and our young people must be given training in the area of good parenting.

"The rapid fallout of broken homes today speaks millions of the failure of parents to spend more time with their families. Sound teaching of good moral values to our children at their tender age is important, and parents who failed to have time to impart these values to their children are guilty of contributing to their future woes," Mr. Tora said.

He said that because of this the Government must assist the churches to provide these trainings to their congregations using the existing church structures to quickly advance the solution to this serious problem.

Minister Tora revealed his Ministry's plans when speaking recently in Parliament on the effects of what he described as "the global economic decline" which he says is now evident everywhere even on the streets of Honiara.

The Home Affairs Minister said that children as young as one or two years old are now scavenging the streets for food and whatever they could find to sell just to enable them to buy a loaf of bread.

Mr. Tora said there is no way of pretending that the situation does not exist, adding that "our traditional values through which we take care of our own immediate and close family members is fast ebbing from our grips."

The Home Affairs Minister told the last parliament meeting that the rising population of children now growing up on the streets of Honiara today is alarming and there is need for cooperative efforts to address the problem.

He described the street kids as victims of the callous environment we are living in today, and sadly what some leaders says on the floor of parliament "only re-enforces the fact that to some degree we are indirectly or directly responsible for putting there."

Mr. Tora said that he believes the problem Solomon Islands is facing in dealing with such problems is not lack of money "as there is abundance of money" but rather the bad financial management.

"Certainly, we already had enough money readily available to effectively evoke practical and meaningful responses to this serious social issue."

The Home Affairs Minister whose ministry is also responsible for churches call on them to do more.

He said whist the churches may want to do more, the main problem for them is lack of resources to even meet the pastoral needs they are required to provide their members throughout Solomon Islands.

Mr. Tora added that churches have already expended well over and above what their mega resources can afford, given their lack of adequate resources.

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