What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states specifically that children have the ‘right to protection from all forms of violence’ yet CSC's report 'State of the World's Street Children: Violence' highlighted the large role that violence plays in driving children to the street and a recent UNICEF backed report found that 75% of Tanzanian youth stated they had experienced physical violence and 25% stated they had experienced emotional abuse during their childhoods.
It is imperative that street children are given a voice and listened to when creating policies to reduce violence against them. Follow up studies must be undertaken directly with street children to ensure that recommendations from past studies are being implemented. The Consortium for Street Children is raising money in order to be able to provide grants for our partners on the ground in Tanzania so that they may conduct these follow up studies.
What is life like on the streets?Boys and girls who live and work on the streets are vulnerable to wide and extreme violations of their rights. They have difficulties accessing basic services and are verbally, physically and sexually abused. Few trust adults. Many perpetuate abuse on their weaker peers. Although these boys and girls may have a range of skills related to survival and informal income generation, these strengths remain unarticulated and unrecognised by mainstream society. This combined with the fact that few of them have benefited from sustained formal education means that these children generally find it very difficult to earn money legally. Faced with this situation, many are forced into crime and confrontation with the general public. Significant numbers of these boys and girls seek temporary relief from their situation through substance abuse. They become trapped in a cycle of poverty, violence and abuse. They are socially excluded, highly visible, mobile and increasing in number. They are unable to access basic services - including school - which generates further problems and demands on already overstretched social services and the criminal justice system. As these children age, they run increasing risk of HIV/AIDS and conflict with the law.
What causes children to run to the streets?A child's departure from home is seldom sudden, despite common conceptions to the contrary. Rather, it usually takes the form of a series of steps in which individuals find out more about the urban environment, investigate work opportunities and make contact with homeless children. Similarly, the factor prompting departure is less commonly a single event than is often thought - rather, it is often a combination of stressors on different causal levels, as suggested in a recent ILO report:
- Immediate: the reason why a child may leave home and go to work or live on the streets could be a sudden drop in family income; loss of support from an adult family member due to illness, death or abandonment; or an episode of domestic violence.
- Underlying: chronic impoverishment, cultural expectations (such as the idea that a boy should go to work on the streets as soon as he is able), desire for consumer goods, or the lure of the city.
- Structural: factors such as development shocks, structural adjustment, regional inequalities and social exclusion.
This multiplicity of levels means that few children are able to perceive all the circumstances that contributed to their decision to leave home. The reasons given by a child on the day of leaving home may anyway be quite different to those they offer three months later after s/he has rationalised his/her home situation and their actions.
Case Study: Adam
Adam says "It hurts me when I remember. When I was on the streets I could not sleep because I did not trust anyone and was scared because I saw the way other kids were being treated. One night a boy, Isenga, was crying. I saw the man called Koko raping him. I decided to run from there. I also saw the dead body of the street boy called Fogo. The other older boys killed him in a fight over money. I did not believe that there are human beings who can behave like animals. It hurts me when I remember."
These children are Tanzanian Future lets do something ,lets support them .Global giving has raised $620 remaining $49,380 visit there site and learn more on how you can help this children.
LET OUR VOICES BE HEARD AND ACTIONS BE SEEN.