This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
“Street and working children are a common sight these days in cities around the world especially in the poorer regions of the south. Deprived of the joys of a normal childhood and adolescence, many of them die early in a state of extreme poverty, or from bullets full of hatred. Those who escape, struggle to survive, roam the streets or waste away in despair, relieving their suffering by escaping into the imaginary in an often self-destructive way” (UNESCO, 1995).
Realities and Conditions
Lack of self sufficiency, Lack access to essential services such as education and health care, They face violence, drug abuse and sexual exploitation, and disease including HIV/Aids, Poorly paid jobs, loneliness, police harassment and even death. Homelessness, Lack of identification papers (West ,2003) They do not show up on the national census( UNESCO, 1995).
Understanding the Terms
Rotheram-Borus et.al(1991) defines homeless youths to include those who have left their homes without a parent's or guardian's consent (runaways), those who are thrown out of their homes (throwaways), those who leave problematic social service placements (system kids), and those lacking basic shelter (street youths).
further divided into ‘children on the streets’ and ‘children of the streets’. Children on the streets maintain family contact and often return home to sleep, but spend most of their time on the streets either working or having fun. Children of the streets are youth who live, work, and sleep on the streets (Ensign, 1998).
Background to International Youth Homelessness
Homelessness emerged as a public concern in the United States in the late 1970s and early 1980s By the mid-1980s to early 1990s, the visibly homeless were becoming a common sight even among those countries with well-developed social safety-net programs, such as Canada. Glasser & Brigman (1999) Street children in Africa are a recent development but frequently reflects patterns of exploitation emanating from colonialism in the early 20th century. Bamurange as cited in Kilbride (2000)
Extent of International Homelessness
The hidden and isolated nature of street children makes accurate statistics difficult to gather UNICEF (1989) estimates there are approximately 100 million street children worldwide with that number constantly growing. There are up to 40 million street children in Latin America. In India, there are at least 18 million and 10million in Africa In Guatemala, 1.45 million children work on the streets in a country where the total population is about 8 million. In Philippines, 1.2 mil children live and work on the streets while in, Thailand, an estimated 800,000 girls under the age of 20 work on the streets or in brothels as prostitutes ( Rocky. M in Congressional Hearing, 1992). In the United States, estimates of homeless youth range from 500,000 to 2million (Enisgn, 1998) In Canada it is estimated at 15,000 and over in Greater Toronto area alone by McCrossin
Located in East Africa with a population of around 37.9 million people, 2.78 growth rate (2008 est), 60% of this population is below 20 years of age, with 40% unemployment rate. 50% of the population is estimated to be below poverty line (2000 est.) The life expectancy rate in Kenya is said to be 56.64 years. The total area is 582,650 sq km (CIA, 2008). It is estimated that 1.2 million people are living with HIV/AIDS and 150,000 HIV/AIDS deaths (2003 est.) (CIA,2008)
Street Children Situation in Kenya
Estimated 250,000 children in Kenya living on the streets. Marginalized from basic services and support Harassment and abuse from the police and within the juvenile justice system For some the street is the only home they know- born and bled in the streets. Succumb to demeaning ways of living e.g. voluntary/forced engagement in child labor, crime involvement, forced/opted early girl child marriages, prostitution, begging, rampant abuse of cheaply & readily available drugs e.g. bhang, glue and cigarettes. Rape, sodomy, police arrests and harassments, hunger and serious physical assaults by both members of the public and older colleagues in the streets. Prostitution: one in 10 cases less than 10 years of age involved in sex work. According to a new report on the sexual exploitation of adolescents and youth on the Kenyan coast, 30 per cent, or more than one in four girls between 12 and 18 years, are selling sex for cash (UNICEF 2006).
incompatibility with family and step family members, disrupted and dysfunctional families, neglectful parents, coercive and abusive parents (emotional, physical and sexual abuse), parental rejection and problems in school that often produced further conflict with parents by (Hagan & McCarthy 1997) Rejection and stigmatization by family and community of orgin for gay and lesbian identified youth are also reasons for homelessness (Ensign, 1998) Structural adjustment programmes and globalization has led to rapid urbanization. One of the negative consequences of these changes is the emergence of large numbers of children on the streets. (kopoka,2000) Poverty Abuse of drugs and armed conflict. A case point is the election violence in Kenya after the 2007 general election, many children lost their guardians or they were displaced. HIV/Aids is also a cause for children coming onto the streets especially in the global south. (West, 2003)
Adolescents have unique barriers to health which include confusion over legal consent to seek care, office hours that conflict with school, and discomfort with traditional health care settings. Health status data on homeless adolescents are limited in both quantity and quality. They have greater problems with access to health care, including a more profound lack of insurance/payment sources, anxiety over issues of confidentiality. Enisgn (1998) The risky behavior by street children put them at health risk which include susceptibility to infectious diseases; vulnerability to HIV/AIDs, physical and sexual abuse and drug abuse.
Resistance by street children to accessing the formal health system, primarily due to a perceived discomfort and fear that they would not receive the intended care, or else would receive care in a very unsupportive and disrespectful manner. Karabanow et.al (2007) Street children are seen as “dirty” this makes them not accepted in health care settings. Homeless youth are more likely to seek medical attention after they are no longer able to ignore a health problem. Homeless youth don’t go for community health services for fear of being stigmatized as homeless. The delivery of HIV-related prevention and treatment programs to homeless youths is especially difficult because of the life stressors, living situations, and adjustment problem of these youths. For example, trainers in HIV prevention programs have tried to involve families in reducing adolescents "HIV-related risk acts (e.g., Winnet, 1991).However, families are typically the sources of the greatest stress for homeless youths and so cannot be mobilized as supportive resources. (Rotheram-Borus, Koopmaq,& Ehrhardt,1991). In terms of mental health, emotional distress and psychiatric problems are three times more common among homeless youths than among adolescents in general. According to a study conducted on Exploring the health Experiences of Halifax street children, it found out that majority of the street youth involved in the study suggested that street life enhanced one’s feeling of stress, anxiety and depressionmuch of this related to the continual requirement to meet basic needs of shelter, food and clothing. (Karabanow et.al, 2007)
Many street children in Kenya come to the streets after being forced to leave school by poverty. While others are “pushed out” (Killbride, 2000) In addition to enrollment problems, the high mobility associated with homelessness has severe educational consequences. Street children generally lack access to public education services. Some are unable to go to school because they need to work, because of discrimination or because of costs. In most cases street children cannot access services because they do not have any form of identification. They are regarded as social drop-outs. While the government has waived the tuition fee and provides textbooks, other classroom materials such as exercise books are still the parent's responsibility (Mushtaq, 2008) .
Street children are seen as a public nuisance by the general public. They have no real connections with the public but they do develop strong connections amongst themselves. In Kenya Street children are known as chokora, roughly translated from Kiswahili as pokers at dustbins or garbage heaps in search of food and other valuables (Killbride et.al, 2000) Kenyan street children are frequently observed sniffing glue. The “glue bottle” in the public mind negatively symbolizes what is taken to be in Kenya, the defining characteristic of street children: that is people who are trouble makers and a threat to society (Kilbride et.al, 2000)
Vulnerable to hazardous and/or exploitative labor situations. Many formal and informal sectors depend on children as a source of cheap labor. (West, 2003) Insatiable demand for child sex workers. Children may be engaged in commercial sex work just to make a living. For the girl child sexual exploitation is not only by strangers but also by the street boys as a form of payment for protection. A case in point is during the skirmishes that happened in Kenya during the 2007 general elections. Street children were used by politicians to cause havoc and chaos and as a result many were killed and some injured.
of the street children are illiterate with no basic skills to help them get proper jobs. The attitude of the society towards street youth acts as a barrier even to employment. They are treated with suspicion and seen as thieves.
Interventions Government Level
Support the efforts of Non-Government organizations in addressing the issue of street children. It’s also the role of the government to protect all citizens which includes the street children. It’s also important to get the business sector involved with the oversight of the Government because more often than not they are the beneficiaries of cheap labor provided by street children. It is the responsibility of the government to develop a system that will include the street children population to be reflected in the national census. Promote and increase access to family planning services especially for the rural communities. This will help to reverse the population explosion in Kenya. Develop more employment, recreational and participation opportunities to channel youth’s energy in positive directions and enhance their ability to make contribution towards nation building.
Commitment by organizations dealing with street children through networking.This includes improving communication, being less competitive about funding and sharing all the available resources. Services need to be Linked together to provide a more holistic approach. Programs designed for helping youth living in the streets should be flexible enough to accommodate their individual needs rather than conducting a blanket intervention that gives no room to meet individual needs. Organizations to provide youth friendly services especially in health centers by ensuring staff that are trained in providing services to children and youth.
Teachers: They have daily contact with children and interact with many parents. They should be able to identify emerging problems before they become critical, to communicate with parents and to assist in referring families to professionals. Family outreach programs: available to families to help they cope with issues at the family level. To deal with issues such as communication, decision making, self esteem, parental control. To address the attitude of the society towards street children there is need to highlight the success stories, of how street children can be reformed
Baxter, S. (1991). Under the viaduct: homeless in beautiful B.C. Vancouver, B.C: New star books. Central Intelligence Agency. (2008, November 6). The World Fact Book-Kenya. Retrieved on November 13, 2008, from Book-Kenya. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/print/ke.html Ensign, J. (1998) Health issues of homeless youth. Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, vol. 7, No. 3, pg 159-171 Retrieved November 7, 2008, from http://www.springerlink.com/content/p588657308qt5067/ Fitzgerald, M.D. (1995) Homeless youths and the child welfare system: implications for policy and service. Journal of Policy, Practice, and Program 0009-4021/95/030717-14 pg 71 Glaser, Irene, and Rae, (1999). Braving the street: The anthropology of homelessness. New York: Berghahn Books. Kanth, A. (Ed.) (2004, September) Street Children and Homelessness. Cyc-Online, 68 Retrieved October 16, 2008, from http://www.cyc-net.org/cyc-online/cycol-0904-Homelessness.html Karabanow,J.,Hopkins,S.,Kisely,S.,Parker,J.,Hughes,J.,Gahagan,J.,et al. (2007) Can you be healthy on the street?:exploring the health experiences of Halifax street youth. Canadian Journal of Urban Research Vol 16, Issue 1 pages 12-32. Killbride,P.,Suda,C.,Njeru,E.(2001) Street children in Kenya:Voices of children in search of a childhood, Bergin & Garvey Westport, Killbride,P.,Suda,C.,Njeru,E.(2001) childhood, Connecticut. London Kopoka, A. (2000, April). The problem of street children in Africa: and ignored tragedy. Paper presented at the International Conference on Street Children and Street Children’s health in East Africa, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. McCarthy, B., & Hagan, J. (1998) Mean streets: Youth, crime and homelessness. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. homelessness. Mushtaq, N. (2008). Kenya: failing grade for free primary education? Inter Press Service News Agency. Retrieved November 3, 2008, from http://www.ipsnews.net/index.asp. http://www.ipsnews.net/index.asp. National Coalition of Homelessness.(n.d.) Retrieved November 4,2008, from http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/education.html Panter-Brick, C. (2002) Street children, human rights, and public health: a critique and future directions (Annual Review. Anthropol.2002.31:147-71). Durham, UK: University of Durham, Department of Anthropology. Retrieved November 10, 2008, from http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146%2Fannurev.anthro.31.040402.085359 Rotheram-Borus,M.J.,Koopmaq,C.,Ehrhardt,A. (1991). Homeless youths and HIV infection. Journal of American Psychologist. Vol 46 Issue 11 pg 1188 ISSN 0003066X Retrieved November 13, 2008, from http://psycnet.apa.org/?fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/0003-066X.46.11.1188 Rothman, J. (1991). Runaway & homeless youth: Strengthening services to families and children Los Angeles, LA: University of California press. UNESCO.(1995). Working with street children: selected case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America.(Series-Youth America.(Series-Youth plus)Retrieved November 5, 2008 from Ebsco database . UNICEF. (2006), Report reveals Kenyan child sex industry of ‘horrific’ magnitude Retrieved November 3, 2008, from http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/kenya_37817.html. U.S.Congressional Hearing, (1992) Street children: a global disgrace. Serial No. 102-17/ISBN Washington DC; US Government Hearing, Printing Office. Webber, M.(1991) Street kids: The tragedy of Canada’s runaways. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto press. West, A.(2003).At the margins: street children in Asia and the pacific .Poverty and Social Development Papers No.8. Retrieved .Poverty November 10,2008, from http://www.sssk.org.uk/content/_pages/Street%20children%20in%20Asia%20comprehensive%20report.pdf
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.