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Street Children

Street Children “People don’t love us,” says Tigiste, a 12 years old street girl from Addis Ababa. A small example of how these kids suffer everyday, as Tigiste, there are many kids like her all over the world. One of these countries that has a huge problem in this issue is Egypt.

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But who is a street kid? how can we classify these children by that name? and what is the number of them? “A street child is defined as any boy or girl for whom the street in the widest sense of the word has become his or her habitual abode and/or source of livelihood, and who is inadequately protected, supervised, or directed by responsible adults” (ESCWA).Omneya Ragab, writer in Al-Ahram weekly says, “Among the estimated tens of thousands children in street situations, 65% escape family problems, 30% are out in the streets to earn money for themselves and their families while 23% are forced to leave by family members. It is estimated that the number of these children is ranged between 200,000 and 2,000,000. You can find them sleeping on pavements, standing at traffic, shining shoes, selling newspapers or notice them under bridges. The main cause of this phenomenon is poverty.Although there are not reliable studies, but it is assumed that “the percentage of those living on less than $1 a day is 3. 4 % while the percentage of those living on less than $2 a day is 42. 8 %”(ESCWA). Other causes are : violence, an old thought that a child has to work at an early age and stop education and falling preys for employers, a member in family or by their peers. Effects are clearly observed as this resulted to depending on charity, sexual abuse and continuing of a series of violence in general and illness.So, this essay will demonstrate the causes of this problem, then the effects in details and how can this problem be solved tackling some projects that are already done to face this. So as to analyze any problem we should know its cause which will lead us to understand its effects in a better way. A life of a child is at stake, everyday these innocent kids are exposed to danger. First it comes from family, which circumstances affects them and lead to uncontrollability in actions whether from a member of a family or by any sudden unexpected event, like the one that happened at AL Dewe’a or by losing contact with the parents including death.This could result in displacement of these children were they can’t find a place or shelter except under a bridge, infront of mosques or in any public place like gardens for example. Also, another cause is, the deprivation of education. Based on the Egyptian 2006 census, “the percentage of children between 6 and 18 years who never enrolled or who have dropped out of basic education was 14. 7 %, amounting to around three million children. The gross enrolment rate of children in basic, secondary and tertiary levels was 76. %”. It was found that the main causes of that is the violence they suffer at home, school or at work; which lead afterwards that parents urge them to work only because that is more profitable and gives instant cash flows. The problem is that the child becomes fed up and start to search for the prefered environment but finds that in the street which is an exit to change their lives. Yet they suffer more violence with a constant feeling of insecurity; from older street children, abusive community members or from the police.So they are urged to submit, whether it was for an employer who could be an older street child or to the police and in both ways they will feel pain and humiliation. This can be by abuse, rape or other ways of torture. According to Human Rights Watch, police beatings are purely punitive or correctional in approach: in other words, they are used to “teach the children a lesson”! And by the street children you can find the worse as sexual violence may lead to unwanted pregnancies for girls and extreme injuries for both genders.