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Homeless street children: a growing social evil

One of the main social problems in many nations of the world is that of homeless street children.

Children end up on the street for many reasons. Some have lost their parents to civil wars, natural disasters and other calamities, while others are fleeing abusive homes or fleeing to the streets because their poverty-stricken families are unable to care for them.

Street children live a marginalized life, commonly resorting to begging, car window cleaning, theft and prostitution to support themselves. They are extremely vulnerable to abuse and girls are especially vulnerable to sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. Unhygienic conditions breed diseases such as tuberculosis, skin diseases, malnutrition, and HIV/AIDS.

Without access to even the most basic education, the street child has few opportunities to improve his life and escape from this harsh cycle of precarious existence.

Public opinion of homeless children in many countries is often negative. Few defenders speak for them and few of them have relatives or interested persons willing to intervene on their behalf.

The streets offer little protection, leaving children vulnerable to dangerous predators. As they roam the dangerous city streets in search of food and shelter, there is a risk that they will be exploited by beggar syndicates, manipulated into prostitution, child slavery, mining, or killed by death squads or gangs. of self-defense

As a result of their terrible experiences, street children mature early and become aggressive. Beneath their hardened exterior, however, lies a deep vulnerability and a desire for someone to take care of them.

There is a pressing need for outreach programs for the growing multitude of children for whom every day is a nightmare of hunger and danger.

Practical ways we can reach street children include:

– Establishment of shelters to offer a program of accommodation, food, clothing and basic health care. The general idea of ​​a reception center is to propose a place where street children feel accepted. In general, they are wary and cautious. Some, if not all, of them feel betrayed and the last thing they need is to be let down again by empty promises.

– Offer literacy and vocational training programs. Most children do not have skills and in order to offer them an alternative to life on the streets, they need skills to prepare them for adulthood.

– Resources such as specialized foster homes or family-based residential homes should also be developed to help train and integrate them into society as part of a social service program targeting street children.

– It is also necessary to give them outlets for creativity and self-expression so that they can overcome the negative influences of their past. Responsible role models and mentors will also have a calming effect on them.

– Support reputable charities making a difference to the lives of street children with our time, talents and funds.

The goal, however, is to ultimately reunite the child with his or her family, when that is in the child’s best interest.

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