Street kids in Harare are using a new begging technique, pretending to be school children with fake letters from different school heads.
The kids who used to roam First Street, Samora Machel Avenue and some parts of the Avenues can now be seen at various food outlets and traffic lights in the northern suburbs, where, in a bid to get donations, they show letters they claim are written by heads of the school they attend.
Tanaka Mawire, one child with a letter that he claimed was written by the headmaster from a school in Tynwald, insisted the letter was written by the school’s head.
He said, “Both my parents are dead and the headmaster has written this letter so that I may go and look for assistance.”
Asked why the letter had no stamp he said, “The headmaster forgot to stamp the letter.”
Members of the public are concerned about the genuineness of these letters. “What is worrisome about these kids is that they are seen at late hours such as six o’clock in the evening, leaving many of us wondering if they are genuinely seeking help,” said Desire Mutseka, a resident of Mt Pleasant.
An official at Shingai Primary school in Chitungwiza, one of the schools the kids claim to attend, said that it is not their policy to encourage their students to do this.
He said, “We have heard such reports and also encountered some of them and we urge members of the public to be very cautious as such acts suggest that there are some unscrupulous people who are using these children.”
The official said, “People should not take advantage of young people and use them to source money but instead assist them.”
If these children approach you, get contact details for the schools that they say they come from. A simple phone call should help you to determine the genuineness of the claim.