OpEd, Politics

Measures to help street children

By Deng Chol

 A society that is not well cared for, will later be harmful to the individual who lives in it.

So many things go on in the society we live in; it may be a big or small society.  After all, a society started from the family; an individual home made up the society.

The term street child refers to a boy or girl who has not reached adulthood and for whom the street has become a habitual abode and/or source of livelihood; and they are less protected, supervised, or directed by responsible adults or society.

In the same way, street children could also be poor or homeless children below the age of an adult who spend all or high-quality time living and hawking on the streets of a city, town, or village.

Street children come from all walks of life, from all around the world.  Many street children come from structurally disadvantaged homes with poor living conditions. Parental loss through deaths or shortages of housing forces children onto the streets in order to survive.

In a nutshell, children who are from poor families in our societies are likely to find themselves on the streets, since the belly will not stop asking for food.  Street life is an adaptive response to stress experienced by families living in poor conditions. The move onto the streets can represent a desire to take control and displace old values and habits with new ones.

As a South Sudanese citizen inequality is a concept that sadly one becomes very familiar with it at a very young age, it’s a country like many other African countries where many have a lot, and a lot almost have nothing, and it’s where if you were born poor, you will almost die poor. Especially if you never had access to education.

It’s when people don’t even have access to equal opportunity and because of that generations after generations will live trapped in the same vicious cycle fed by prejudice and in action.

In this country you will see kids of young age instead of being at school, they are already in the streets working, barefoot in the park, kids of under four years and above whose reality is completely different than other kids.

And it’s because of the circumstances into which they were either born in or the war put them through, it’s really hard to accept if you have a little humanity in you. To accept that something unjust had no solution, there had to be something that could be done about this, whenever I see these kids, I often ask myself why people around me are resigned to the fact that these kids who are just like their kids at their young age suffer, the suffering that had been made by some individual for them, the suffering they don’t deserve.

How people judge them 

Street children are the kindest and most loving people I know. They are not even dangerous, as long as they have food and a place to sleep.  People judge them wrongly and always accuse them of crimes they did not even commit, just because they are there in the streets and all kinds of crimes suit them.

Some of them innocently end up in jail for crimes they know nothing about.  Yes, there are certain instances; where some of them get involved in some crime, but it is mostly when they fight amongst themselves. I always see people take the glue away from them and then turn and walk away to their respective comfortable homes, while they leave them to fend for themselves in the streets on their own.

This kind of action does not solve their problem at all, it just makes matters worse.  It is best to take the glue away from them, and then offer an alternative solution. They will go and get another bottle of glue anyway and continue to sniff it.

I’ve always wondered why they never get sick from eating the food from the rubbish: God blesses the food in the rubbish before they eat it! Makes sense. If you want to help the street kids, don’t ever judge or try to change them, just love them and give them food.

Street children’s problems 

To reach out to the problems of street children and how to help street children who are facing a number of problems including protection, shelter, limited access to food, and education, we may go to them directly to know the intensity of their problems.

We may not be able to help them from getting them out of all their problems, but perhaps we can solve some of them and give hope for a better tomorrow.

Development and rehabilitation centers should be constructed 

Development places are the best organizations and services for street children. If we want to help street children, there is a dire need to analyze the problems of these children and know the ways of how to help street children.

Development and rehabilitation centers help street children on a large scale as they know more about their problems and know the better solutions to their problems. These development and rehabilitation centers offer and provide street children with all the facilities that the common children enjoy at their homes.

These centers never let the children feel that they are in the centers, not in their homes.

The goal of the development and rehabilitation centers in how to help street children.

For street children is to make them ready to take part in all the healthy activities of life.

Responses by governments

No doubt, some governments in other developed countries have held programs to tackle street children, the general solution of how to solve the problem of street children by placing the street children into, juvenile homes, orphanages, rehabilitation centers, or correctional institutions.

Struggles have also been made by a number of governments in the world to help or to support with semi-government services and international organizations. The general public, instead of, the organizations and the institutions that care for street children, may also assist the street children and help the government to realize how to solve the problem of street children.

The rehabilitation centers also play an important role in healing the street children and making them prepare to resort again to their homes as the streets are not their homes.

In South Sudan we have more than 500 international organizations that work in the field of child aid, these organizations are under (SSRRC) Which is the government institution guiding and instructing the NGOs to do a particular project based on their objections.

NGOs like UNICEF, MSF, RED CROSS SS, and SAVE THE CHILDREN can help us build rehabilitation centers where all our children who are moving in the streets can be taken care of and be educated.

These international organizations can be directed to build rehabilitation centers for our street children to live and be taught in, this will help us in fighting the economic crisis and poverty in the country.

What must be done to eradicate street children? 

1- Children who live on the streets should be placed in rehabilitation centers to be educated and taken care of.

2- If a country doesn’t have rehabilitation centers some should be set up.

3- Support should be given to struggling families so that they can afford to care for their children.

4- A child welfare system should be set up if it doesn’t exist and is improved if it does in order to better protect children.

5- Teachers should be trained to recognize and report signs of abuse and neglect.

6- If possible, resources should be invested in mental health care and substance abuse treatment.

7- Public campaigns should be conducted to encourage parents to not throw their children out of the home for cultural reasons.

I’m calling upon every South Sudanese citizen to rise up and put our hands together to help these poor children who are moving on the streets, day and night, without care and love from their loved ones.  Most of them have lost their loved one in the recent conflict which left our country in a bad economic situation.

We can create a better future and hope for them and the next generation if we stand up to support them. We can help, and assistance will always come back to us in one way or another.

Building the nation’s economy; when we invest in these kids, they will give back to society what we do for them today sometime back.

By nurturing their dreams and talents, by nurturing them, they become good at what we teach them.

The blessings of God are always upon that person who feeds the poor and clothes the needy.

We have to play our role as a government and citizen by helping these poor, orphans, and underprivileged children to be better people of tomorrow.

This is my personal view on how we can help our poor children on the streets into a better tomorrow.

The author is a concerned South Sudanese citizen and can be reached at.

Tell: +211915101510 or Email: dengaluet165@gmail.com


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