Mother Reconnects With Her Children After 23 Years
A Malawian mother who had to give away her children to social welfare 23 years ago and lost track of them, has tasted the rare opportunity to reconnect with them.
“It is up to the children. They are free to decide what they do next. Otherwise am happy I have seen them. I have also seen the one who was keeping them,” says Magret Bwanali the biological mother to the two her smile all over the place.
Bwanali engaged the office of the Malawi Human Rights Commission for help to locate her two children.
Proprietor of Chikondi Community-based Organization, Mary Sundwe, said she is a happy person to have raised the two children to adulthood.
“I have raised the children. I am happy that one of them is now a graduate of Bunda College of Agriculture,” Sundwe told Zodiak Media.
The Ombudsman’s office managed to track the children to Chikondi Community Based Organization in Mchinji where they were able to find the two.
Director of Social Welfare in the ministry of Population, Planning and Social Welfare, Tina Gumulira, acknowledged that the tracing process was difficult because some of the officers who handed the cases had died on the way.
“With the involvement of other stakeholders, we made follow ups through interviews and record search,” she said.
According to Ombudsman Martha Chizuma, the children were handed to a foster family by government through the social welfare office in 1997 for being vulnerable
“It was a difficult journey to locate the children because of the guiding laws that government used when picking the children at that time - the Children and Young Persons Act.
“At the time government picked the children, that law could not enable the court provide an order for fostering process as it is the case now,” said Ombudsman Chizuma who rubbishes assertions this may have been a human trafficking case.
“These children were neither stolen nor sold by government. These children were handled by government and handed over to a foster family,” she says acknowledging though that problems of record keeping and deaths disrupted tracking.
Chizuma has since applauded the social welfare office and the Malawi Human Rights Commission-MHRC-for working to trace the whereabouts of the children.