Street children are children who sleep on the street. They are sometimes orphaned, often by HIV/AIDS, or abandoned by their parents living in desperate poverty and unable to care for them. On this International Day for Street Children, governments need to listen. We must give street children a voice. Together we are louder and have more impact, so we are asking everyone to Raise your Voices for Street Children.
The International Day is being celebrated across the globe: by street children in Morocco, Uganda, Ethiopia, Guatemala and India; school children in the UK; students in Ireland; the Consortium for Street Children and its 60 members in over 130 countries; Aviva in the 28 countries in which it operates; and politicians in Tanzania and the UK.
All countries have signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (other than the USA and Somalia) and have a legal obligation to work towards ensuring that all children’s rights are integrated into national law. The Convention sets out every child’s right to protection, participation, provision and prevention from harm. It is universally recognised that all children should have these rights realised; yet many government policies and practices still do not include street children. The International Day is supported by Aviva, the world’s sixth largest insurance group, as part of their global Street to School programme which aims to help 500,000 street children get back into education or training over the next five years.
SOS Children work to prevent children from living on the streets through our Family Strengthening Programmes (FSPs). FSPs are designed to support parents to care for their children, avoiding complete family break-up and children being left alone. SOS provide families with food, medical care, counselling and school fees. We also provide training in income-generating activities for parents so that they can set up their own businesses and support their families’ financial needs.
SOS Children also provide direct support for children who already live on the streets, through our SOS Medical and Social Centres. Where there is a need, Social Centres offer ‘drop in’ sessions and provide street children with food, information on HIV/AIDS, education and training. Our 68 Medical Centres offer a full range of health services to nearly 400,000 people every year. This includes many street children in need of treatment for medical problems such as respiratory infections, malaria and stomach disorders.
You can read more about our work with street children here.