THE depressing plight of street kids and disadvantaged members of society can only be ameliorated by concerted Government empowerment programmes that will replace the fractured traditional and social structures that have been decimated by disease and pandemic economic failure. Founder of the of the Fountain of Hope Orphanage in Kamwala-Lusaka Rogers Mwewa, which hosts more than 500 children said failure to help alleviate poverty levels among streets kids had greatly contributed to high HIV/AIDS rate among orphans and street kid below the age of 18 years. “The loose life on the streets has claimed many, many young lives. We bury young people almost every week- victims of poverty, disease and most of all neglect,” Mr Mwewa said. Mr Mwewa who is also Mwansabombwe Patriotic Front (PF) member of Parliament said the alleviation of poverty among vulnerable children, especially the street kids, required an investment in skills training and seed funding to empower graduates with some capital from which they could make a fresh start in life. “The Government tried to train street kids at Zambia National Service (ZNS) camps but did not provide capital for them to launch in business and as a result, they ended up selling the tools provided by Government and eventually returned to the streets,” HeMr Mwewa said. Mr Mwewa said this yesterday when Fairview Lions Club led by its president Richard Sakala donated various food items and 75 pairs of schools shoes to orphans below the age 18 years at the Orphanage in Kamwala. He narrated that the problem with some orphans was that some girls would run away from the orphanage to go on the streets and only comeback after being defiled and being infected by STIs, sometimes by law enforcement officers, who were supposed to protect them.” “So when they come back, we take care of them by providing education, counseling and taking them to clinics to access medical care. But we have lost many lives through HIV/AIDs,” he said. Mr Mwewa also explained that at Fountain of Hope had different programmes currently running in education; outreach, women empowerment, gender based and income generate all aimed at alleviating high poverty levels among orphans. The programmes included academic programmes, skills training, counseling and feeding for vulnerable children, “We provide free education and three meals a day to some of our residents and children from the community,” Mr Mwewa said. “We have moved girls to a gender based facility, which we hope will train and rehabilitate them into productive members of society,” He said.