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STREET CHILDREN


source: pangaea.org/street_children/
kids.htm


http://www.unhabitat.org/categories
.asp?catid=281


http://www.unhabitat.org/
downloads/docs/global%20s
.pdf


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street children/intro

The phenomenon of street children is global, alarming and escalating. No country and virtually no city anywhere in the world today is without the presence of street children…
  • it is a problem of both developed and developing countries, but is more prevalent in the poor nations of Latin America, Asia and Africa. While no precise statistics are available on how many street children there are worldwide, estimates range between 150 million (UN) and 100 million (UNICEF);


  • it has been estimated that by the year 2010, 200-300 million children will be living on the streets, roughly the equivalent to the population of the United States today;


  • many studies have determined that street children (also known as ‘community children’) are most often boys aged 10 to 14, with increasingly younger children (aged 3-9) being affected. Many girls live on the streets as well, although smaller numbers are reported due to their being more ‘useful’ in the home, taking care of younger siblings and cooking. Girls also have a greater vulnerability to trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation or other forms of child labour; (1)


  • about 40% of street children are homeless - as a percentage of world population, unprecedented in the history of civilisation. The other 60% work on the streets to support their families. They are unable to attend school and are considered to live in ‘especially difficult circumstances’;


  • poverty is the major cause of street children. It leads to some breakdown of families and moral values pushing children into the streets in search of opportunities to support themselves and their families. Land reform, population growth, drought, rural to urban migration, economic recession, unemployment, and violence has also been implicated. There are also large numbers of orphans in institutions, generated by major catastrophes, wars and HIV/AIDS;


  • some may also be responding to needs for space, supportive new relationships, or responsibility for their own lives. In high-income industrial countries, many street children have run away from home to escape physical or sexual abuse. Many have received implicit messages from the family to leave (through physical abuse or neglect) until they finally run away;


  • several studies have shown that around 90% of street children use psychoactive substances, including medicines, alcohol, cigarettes, heroin, cannabis, and readily available industrial products such as shoe glue; Glue – the most commonly used substance - is cheap and easily bought. It provides temporary oblivion to cold, heat, hunger pangs, fear, loneliness, and despondency. Unfortunately, children are quickly and easily addicted, and tend to spend whatever petty cash they have on glue, rather than on other necessities; (2)

(1) Amnesty International, 1999.

(2) Source: www.yapi.org/street/
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