Ana Segunda, a 21year old business management student wrote this blog after attending the RIATT-ESA sponsored Children and Youth Conference at the 2017 Psychosocial Forum.
I write about child abandonment, a problem that concerns me and affects a lot of youth in my country, Angola.
When talking about child abandonment, I am referring to when parents relinquish interests, claims and any legal rights over their child. Deserting the child without any regard for its’ physical health, safety or welfare. The legal term used in Angola is “parental refusal”.
Although parental refusal is a big problem in Angola, it is also a problem worldwide, that has detrimental impacts on a child’s wellbeing and development. In fact, many children that are regarded as orphans actually have parents that refuse the responsibility to care for them.
One instance that I personally witnessed in my community was when a young woman dumped her baby in a river only hours after it was born. Fortunately, the child was rescued on time and taken to SOS children’s villages, an organisation that welcomes orphans and abandoned children.
There are many reasons for parental refusal, including: lack of moral values; lack of understanding between couples; infidelity; lack of resources; and just plain lack of responsibility.
Unfortunately, the consequences for the child include:
- Perceptions of rejection by society which puts them at greater risk of delinquency
- Life-long vulnerability resulting from childhood traumas
- Lack of care and guidance, which makes the child more prone to ending up in conflict with the law.
It is a big responsibility to bring new life to the world, which is even more complicated for a single young parent. People should be educated on how to prevent pregnancy if they are not ready to raise a child.
Child abandonment happens because many people don’t value human life. Life is a precious gift. Even if a person does not value his or her life, it does not entitle them to devalue that of another.