In my whole life, I have always lived in plenty. While I was in Philippines, a simple occurrence that was seemingly normal made me take a different focus on what I would like to do to have a fulfilling life. I came across street children, who were searching through trash in a dustbin, apparently looking for food.
Since then, I have always taken keen interest in discovering just how it feels to be a street child, and the challenges that these people go through. This paper looks into the challenges that street children go through, highlights some of the reasons why children go to the streets, and suggests measures that can be taken to reduce the number of street children, or make their lives better.
Street children go through a lot of challenges. These challenges are brought about by the fact that they do not have homes, money, family, and all the other prerequisites for the healthy growth of a child. One of the greatest challenges that street children go through is hunger. They do not have food and thus they depend on hand-outs, and garbage. In some areas, street children even get addicted to sniffing gum as they try to reduce the pangs of hunger.
Hunger is so great a challenge to street kids that it has numerous repercussions in the lives of these kids. It is the main reason why street children get involved in criminal activities like robbery with violence. It also makes their bodies so weak that they become susceptible to diseases.
Another major challenge faced by street children is lack of shelter. They spend their nights in subways even in the coldest of weathers. This can potentially make them fall sick. Spending nights in the open also makes them vulnerable. Thus they can be bitten by snakes, or they can even be attacked by sex-pests, who may be people in the neighborhood or fellow street children.
There are a number of reasons why children may take to the streets to become street urchins. One of the main reasons is the death of the parents of a child who does not have caring relatives. After the death of the parents of such a child, the child may be forced to join other street children in cities in order to learn how to survive.
Another reason is child neglect. A number of children become street children after their parents neglect them, and fail to take care of them. This is mostly seen in parents with specific problems like psychological problems, social problems, or even behavioral problems like the abuse of drugs. If a child is neglected by a parent who is able to raise him/her, he/she becomes angry about it, and it is easy for him/her to make poor decisions like running away from home.
After running away from home, the child will indubitably face problems that will either force him/her to return home, or become a street child in order to learn survival tactics. Another reason why children become street children is the early abandonment of children by their mothers after birth. Even after such children are taken care of by good Samaritans, some of them opt to move out of their foster homes and fend for themselves. This may make them become street children.
A number of things can be done to reduce the number of street children. One of these measures is the implementation of an awareness program aimed at making the public aware about the mistakes that people do, and which may lead to an increase in the number of street children.
Also common, and practicable, is the approach of keeping street children under a rehabilitation program that ensures that their basic needs are met, and that the children are taught extensively about the dangers of the lives they lead, and the need to change their lives.
This can also be reinforced by making the street children attend classes in order to reduce their idle time, and make them start appreciating life. The family should play a key role in ensuring the reduction of the number of street children since it is the main reason why children take to the streets to become street urchins.
After seeing these kids looking for food in garbage, I realized how oblivious I had been to their plight. It is then that I started appreciating the aforementioned facts about street children. I have also vowed to myself that I will work hard to make a lot of money, which I will be able to use in philanthropic activities aimed at helping the disadvantaged members of the community.
It is thus of essence that we live knowing that a significant proportion of humankind lives in unimaginable conditions, and that we have the capacity to help these people. Efforts should thus be made to ensure that the causes of the rise in the number of street children are checked, and that any feasible methods of converting street children to productive members of the society are employed.