There are over 120 million “street children” across the world. 30 million of them can be found in Africa.
What exactly is a street child anyway?
The Humanium organization and SOS Children’s Villages describe a street child like this:
“Street children are minors who live and survive on the streets often growing up in landfills or under bridges in major cities. Because of conflicts with their families these children do not want to or cannot return home.”
There are two types of street children to consider.
Street children who have no homes due to abandonment or because they have been orphaned.
Those who are involved in economic activity on the streets but do not usually sleep there. Children in this category were typically sent by their families to earn an income.
Whether it is a child in Africa, Asia, or even America, there is a certain level of discrimination that comes with the title of “street child.” Oftentimes, these children are ignored, shunned, and excluded by the communities in which they live. The connotation of this title portrays these children as very dangerous. In some circumstances but not all, the children will turn to drug use in order to cope with their traumatic situations. In fact, many children are forced to the streets due to poverty, abuse, rape, abandonment, or are orphaned by AIDS.
In reality, many children gravitate towards the streets in hope of a better life. Whether they arrived there due to the death of their parents to HIV, or because they are being abused at home, or even if they are sent to provide an income for their families, the children quickly find out that the streets are not as hopeful as they seem.
Among many difficulties, street children do not have equal access to food, education, health care, or strong support systems and often have a very difficult time reintegrating into society.
Research has also shown that most children on the street around the ages of 10 to 12. There are also more males on the streets than females. However, this could simply be because females are less visible and are in more high risk engagements such as being sold into prostitution.
Agape House seeks to be a place of hope and refuge for these children who are forgotten, mistreated, and misunderstood. It is our high aim to help them successfully reintegrate into society through free education and coming to the knowledge of the love of Jesus Christ.
Street children are more than victims or delinquents; they are unique and valuable right holders who have tremendous potential.