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Street Children - Whose Challenge? Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Ezekiel Kevin Annan, Ghana Sep 11, 2001
Human Rights   Opinions


A new millennium has dawned for another look to be taken on the subject of street children. An encyclopedia has not been written about this all important subject but only little have been done in practice to curb this menace. Street children’s vulnerability is rapidly becoming targeted and expanding the web of social cankers. The onus now lies on all child-workers, governments, NGO’s and other stakeholders and opinion leaders to consolidate a cohesive force to combat the much talked about subject. For the purpose of an approach to solve the problem, this piece of writing is intended to assess the situation to enable an in-depth understanding and to strategically find a way out.

A child, according to the UN convention for the rights of the child, is anybody below the age of 18 years. This suggests that any single individual below 18 years is a child and should be dependent in his/her parents for development. However, this has not been so in a lot of countries for generation. Definitions of street children have varied from person to person, and from country to country depending on the kind of the perceptual lenses in which street children are see in their new environment. From my own view, the street child is any single individual below the age of 18 years, who is living independently on the street at his home to make ends meet, due to lack of parental care and societal neglect.

It is a choice of necessity. Streetism, could be a predominant source to breed and ignite a heterogeneous whole of social cankers in our world, if society does not go beyond paying lip-services to this threatening predicament. The children on the street are vulnerable to numerous risks including HIV/AIDS due to their nearly universal involvement in “survival sex” (prostitution). The danger has been disclosed in studies that show that frequency of sexual relations within the group of street children also implies that one HIV positive street child could pass the disease to a larger proportion of street children.

Streetism is a danger that undermines the potentials and developments of children. Certain negative values, behaviors and attitudinal changes from the already positive living priority formed at their tender age under the supervision of their parents. It is a liability to society in this era, when they are found without a true home for warmth, and without love and care for a sense of belonging. They are spotted at street corners, both during the day and the night struggling for survival by whatever means possible. Drug addiction, child labour and violence are other key products of streetism which adds to the crime wave and disturbs the peace of the globe.

Children do not deserve the right to be abandoned on the street. The street is void of parental care, protection, love warmth and safety and cannot be a home. “Street children” have become stigmatized by society; ironically their name suggests they were begotten by streets. Truthfully, we forget that these children on the streets are victims of circumstances. These children do not desire to leave their homes and live on the streets where their lives are constantly in danger. They are yearning for the help of all and to get back into sound and secure society.

It is the society that has neglected them and left them to their fate. Their desire is that, they also have that right to complete with equals of the schools but not to compete with equals of similar fate on the streets. They desire to get back home where Daddies and Mummies shout to them for breakfast, lunch and dinner but not where the order of the day is “the survival of the fittest.” They are not strong enough of this task.

Some young girls are sexually abused and others are also enticed into nasty relationships in exchange for meals, little presents and shelter. If society fails to act promptly to save these kids, there will follow serious results ranging from HIV infections to other perilous circumstances soon in this hopeful century. Every single individual owes a service to the street child. If we dare make a mistake in handling their issues, if we allow them to “swim their own swim”, if we dare say “each one for himself and God for us all” in their case, we will be found digging graves for ourselves. There are indications that, the future of the world, especially the developing countries, is black when pragmatic and drastic measures are not taken to rectify this social diversity of our ways. The unseen will be seen.

Written by: Ezekiel Kevin-Annam



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Ivy Zhang | Nov 6th, 2003
Your article has made me think why I'm in this cosy house while someone like my age, is out in the cold out alone being abused by others?? It's not fair. The parents or the guardian has responsibilities and they shouldn't let their children out in the cold out alone. Parents lack of responsibilities is causing problems for the child and the child have to suffer even though she/he didn't do anything to deserve any of it. Sometimes the child might run away and end up as a street boy/girl. The government should be helping people living on the street. I will never survive on the street for days. Those street children eat restaurant's leftovers from the garbage. This has nothing to do with survival with the fittest, like you said. No children under 18 yrs.old will survive out in the streets. Street Children might no even go to school, because they're either afraid other children will make fun of them, or they don't have money to go to school,it just makes it harder for them to find proper jobs, sometimes leading them to prostitution. They're flushing their future down the toilet. People always say "children is our future" but how can they be the future if they're living in the streets?? It doesn't make sense. If children is our future, we got to take ACTION!! lol, I just want to say that you wrote a great article on street childrens and well, keep up the good work!

Nadine Abboud | Nov 6th, 2003
I agree 100%with what you have said. "Street kids"are like all the other children around the world. They are not different from you and me. they should be respected and have equal rights and be HELPED! There are loads of children around the world ,found in each and every country, which do not have shelter, food nor proper education. The is only a limit to when a child(under the age of 18) could live without food water or shelter. streetism is danger fr all youths. Many kids die around the world because of streetism. Children living on streets die became of sickness, poor health , AIDS/HIV. Without proper shelter adolescents are exposed to the harsh weather .With no way to see a doctor you get sicker and sicker until your body can't take it no more. Drugs are one of the main reasons a tot is on the street. Drugs are worse than not having food and water to eat and drink. Once there is addiction to a drug and you have no way of getting more then you have no chance of living. People that are to blame is their parents . I t is their fault that they are not sheltered , getting everything they want (spoiled...ex. going every where the may chose)not caring what they do with their lives. If they could not take responsibility why then did they have sex an be a father or mother. They had a choice and so all that happens to their children, they are the ones to that should take responsibility, and the blame. Some teens that are living on the streets and probably have a meal a week probably by pit-pocketing or prostitution or eating out of the garbage. They have sex for money to able to have something in their stomachs. Can you feel the pain they go through every day, week , month! I can since I fast all day for 30 days (one month) to feel how they feel and to see what they go through. I wish that there could be a way to get all off of the "street kids"and find them a place where they can be loved ,cared for , have good education, health and where they can get three meals a day and extra snacks and to top it off ,to be HAPPY!! As Ivy said we HAVE TO TAKE ACTION!! This is a very important topic and I really enjoy reading this. Keep it up. I hope I read another article that you have made. :) :P Nadine

the cause
Honu-Siabi Maccarthy | Mar 30th, 2005
This problem of escalating popultion o street children is a very disturbing one but as you said is the one thtat people think less of.Sometimes when I get to the city center and see many young peolpe on the streets, so many thougts and questions flow through my mind: how come all these children are on street, soo dirty, hungry looking, tired of life and seems to have no hope for the future? Where do they sleep,? Where are their parents ? Where were they born and what went wrong. Who refuse to take responsibility and as a result created all these menance. Most of the times I get closer to some of these children and have a word or two with them. Just recently my passion towards the plight of these chidren took me on volunteerism to an easter party orgernised by Joy FM at Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra. Talkingt o a few of these children, Most of them have same message: they need love,the y want to be cared for, they want to attend school, they want to eat 3 times a day,- good meals when they wish not only at easter parties. To some of them, they do not care anymore because "a stone in water no longer fears cold". That is to mean that, that is where they were born and where they belong.To them once they can get something to feed on, the street family or generation would forever progress.But should thigs rather be this way? Just as Ivy and Nadine pointed out EVERYONE MUST DO SOMETHING TO ERRADICATE THIS MENANCE. This is a very important topic you've brought up I recomend that everyone should put this problem on his/her agender so together we can see how best we can olve this in our various connmunities.Great work Ezekiel.

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