Posts Tagged ‘Streetkids’

In 2012 the theme for the International Day for Street Children is ‘challenging perceptions’ – we are encouraging people to question what they think they know about street children. Challenge your perceptions by reading about some.

There are a number of common misconceptions about street children, from who street children are, to how many there are around the world, to why children take to the streets in the first place. Increase your knowledge by reading our ‘myth busters’ below.¬†

Definition

Myth: Street children are children who live on the street
Buster: Street children have many connections to the street Рsome live on the street, some work on the street. Some street children maintain relationships with their family whereas others break all contact.

Numbers

Myth: There are 100 million street children in the world
Buster:  UNICEF estimated there were 100 million street children in 2005. However, it is not known how many children worldwide depend on the streets for their survival or development. Numbers vary by country and by city because of different socio-economic, political and cultural conditions. Additionally, counting street children can be difficult due to their elusiveness and lack of permanent location.

Street children in the developing and developed world

Causes leading children to the streets

Myth: Children connect with the street because of family breakdown
Buster: There are many factors which can push children onto the street including poverty, family breakdown, violence, war, natural disasters and forced marriage. However, there are also factors which pull children onto the street such as financial independence, friendships, adventure and city glamour. It is through a combination of such push and pull factors that children develop strong connections with the street.

Street children as victims

Myth: Street children are victims
Buster: Although street children are vulnerable to the dangers of life on the street, they are also resourceful and resilient. Street children actively make connections with the street Рthey build homes, friendships and earn a living on the street. These connections are vital to their everyday survival.

Street children as criminals

Myth: Street children are criminals/delinquents and add no value to society
Buster: Street children adopt many tactics necessary to survival on the streets, such as begging, loitering and rough sleeping. In criminalising these survival behaviours, society alienates street children and stigmatises them. Street children see themselves as able to make a positive contribution to society despite often negative attitudes towards them.

Street children and substance abuse

Myth:¬†Street children who take drugs do not deserve society’s support
Buster:¬†Some street children engage in substance abuse as a way of coping with the daily reality of life on the street – this can cause street children to be viewed as delinquents. Society needs to understand the reasons for street children’s behaviour and provide specialised support.

Violence

Myth: Street children do not experience violence
Buster: Street children often experience direct exposure to violence. It can be a factor in pushing them onto the street, perhaps through family violence or war. Once on the street, violence is also a challenge Рstreet children have repeatedly reported suffering violence at the hands of adults, the police and other street children.

Street children as rights-holders

Myth: Street children have access to their rights, just as any other child
Buster: One of the greatest challenges faced by a street child is being recognised and treated as someone with rights. Although street children have rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in the same way that all other children do, many government policies do not reflect this.

Courtesy from Consortium for Street Children: http://www.streetchildrenday.org