[pic] NAME OF CANDIDATE: CENTER #: CANDIDATE #: TERITORY: JAMAICA YEAR: 2013 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM Street children in my community ? What are the factors that influence children to live on the streets? ? What are the measures that can be taken to get them into homes/places of safety? RESEARCH QUESTIONS 1. What are the factors that influence children to live on the streets? 2. What are the effects of living on the streets affects these children? 3. What are the measures that can be taken to get street children off the streets? METHOD OF INVESTIGATION The method of investigation chosen is the questionnaire.
The questionnaire as chosen as a tool for collecting information because of a number of advantages they are: 1. It requires less time to be completed. 2. It is highly confidential since no name is required. 3. It can be done base on the person’s schedule. REASON FOR SELECTING AREA OF RESEARCH The area in which the research will be done is the down town area. The reason for selecting this particular area is as a result of the high rate of street children on the streets of down town. It was observed that these children have been on the street on several occasions. I want to explore the causes and effects of their phenomena.
PROCEDURES FOR DATA COLLECTION In the area of Down Town Kingston there are thousands of different streets. Some of which are more crowded with street children than others. There was a minimum of 1 street children present on these streets and a maximum of 2. In the less crowded streets of the area, 10 street children were present respectively, questionnaires were given to each. On the streets which were less crowded 6 males were present and 4 females, their ages from 10-17 years. On the street that was more crowded, 16 males and 4 females present their ages also ranged from 10-17 years.
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When approached and asked if they would complete the questionnaire some demanded money while others immediately agreed, no one refused. Some needed little or no help. 30 questionnaires were issued, all of which were complete and returned immediately to the researcher who waited on them patiently. When they were finished and counted 8 females and 22 males actually completed the questionnaires. DATA ANALYSIS Street children, where is their place in society? Red Rat, a local DJ aptly describes Jamaicans view on the home of street children when he sang that they “No Live Nuh Wey”.
His song also highlights the hardship experienced by children, the activities they get involved in and their aspirations. This project then, seeks to answer two main questions: 1. Why are these children living on the streets of my community? 2. What are the measures that can be taken to get street children off the streets? In order to provide a comprehensive answer to these two questions, the project will first look at the major cause of this phenomenon, urbanization. It will then look at the spatial location of street children in my community and in Kingston.
The focus will then move to who they are, why they are on the streets and the activities in which they are engaged. It will also examine how effective institutions are in meeting the needs of the children. This is done in an attempt to determine whether or not there is hope for these children. This project will conclude by making suggestions on how to give hope to street children. Waugh, (2000), describes urbanization as the process by which an increasing proportion of the total population, usually of a country, lives in towns and cities. This growth is due to natural increase and to a larger extent rural-urban migration.
Map 1,page 2, shows that the most densely populated parishes are in the areas of the Kingston Metropolitan Region, which includes Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine, (Census 2001). Urbanization in these areas has placed stress on the available resources and has led to overcrowding, which in turn has led to several problems. These include shortages of houses and the development of slums/ghettos, crime and violence, unemployment and underemployment and the incidence of street people specifically, children. The stance of this project is that street children are victims of urbanization.
Agnelli, 1986 confirms our stance when he wrote that the phenomenon of street children is urban in nature, as there are no rural street children. Map 2, page 3, further confirms this. [pic] [pic] The writer of this project define Street children as those children who are under the age of seventeen years who live or work on the streets as a regular daily activity. This is endorsed by Lusk et. al (1992) in an article entitled Children in need, described street children as any child for whom the street has become his or her habitual abode and /or source of livelihood, and who is inadequately protected, supervised, or directed by adults.
In an interview with a social worker, the profile of a street child was outlined; he mistrust people, he enjoys his independence, he tends to be rebellious, he dislikes authoritarianism or ridged control, he can be rehabilitated, he can cope under difficult circumstances and he is nomadic. The writers of this article indicated that there are three categories of street children: Children on the streets – are those who still have links with families and attend school, but work on the streets outside of school hours.
Children of the streets – are those whose links with the family are remote and who consider the street to be their home. Abandoned children – are those who are completely on their own and have no links with their families. Numerous reasons have been given to explain the presence of the children on the roads. A Gleaner article of August 23, 2011 highlighted three reasons: It claimed that some children are orphaned as their parents were killed in shooting sprees in the inner city areas, some parents have migrated and have left them in the care of uncaring relatives, friends and older siblings.
In another article found in the Sunday Gleaner on August 25, 2011, the writer quoted the former project coordinator of Wings, in saying that the boys were put out of their homes by their parents, and that some were coerced into the streets because of overcrowded homes. In another article found in the Gleaner on March 15, 2002, the writer critically stated that the children were on the streets because they were either truants from the school system or a product of dysfunctional families.
From our research, we have found that a typical street child is a 12-year-old boy from a female- headed household, the average size of which is five persons, where his guardian either is unemployed or marginally employed. The responses from the questionnaire regarding the reason for their absence from school suggest that socio-economic deprivation is indeed a major factor. Some even responded sayings that they were forced peddle wares on the streets to supplement the family’s income; others were suspended or expelled from school, while there were a few who stated that there was no reason.
Irregular school attendance for those who are actually enrolled into a school is a popular feature found among the street children interviewed. Many went to school only three days per week; using the remaining days of the week to perform their personal activities. For those who were absent from school only once or twice per week, Thursday and Friday were their preferred days to be absent. This they stated enabled them to go to the market to beg and or sell. Thursday is the wholesale day in the major retail market and Friday being payday, is a popular market day for workers in the urban centres.
These days proved to be most profitable for these child labourers as they earn much of their money transporting goods for the shoppers. Based on the responses of the children from the questionnaire, it is possible to assess and determine the main “push factors” which has inevitably resulted in them being on the street. FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE INCREASING NUMBER OF STREET CHILDREN 11% 30%State 19% 33% Parents Abusers Peers 7%Severe Poverty Push Factors a) The state – Overcrowding of the educational or childcare system is the primary cause for movement of the children from the institutions provided.
The state neglects their responsibilities by not adequately funding these institutions. The signs were evident in the inner city schools visited where the teacher - pupil ratio is about 1:60. In addition, the lack of desk and chairs, stationery and other vital equipment causes discomfort for the students and teachers. b) The consequences of the actions of parents such as neglect, migration or directly sending their children out on the streets, forces them to fend for themselves hence causing child labour. ) Physical, sexual or emotional abuse, caused by parents or guardians usually leads to the child running away from home and thereby being forced into child labour d) Peer pressure –The feeling of inadequacy at school discourages then from wanting to learn, especially if they are being teased and ridiculed and hence they are push into child labour. e) Severe poverty – The children are forced unto the streets to supplement the inadequate income of the household, often following the laying off from work of the primary caregiver. ) Those who enter into child labour primarily of their own volition, in order to help out their parents or to become more independent themselves; and g) Those entering as a direct result of family crisis like the illness or death of the primary caregiver. Pull Factors A. “Pop Culture” influences children, in that it dictates the clothing and styles to be worn in order for them to be considered fashionable. When children of a poor socio economic background see their friends in the latest fashions, living a carefree life without any responsibilities this entices them to want to follow this trend.
However due to their poor financial circumstances they are unable to afford these trends, hence leading them to go out and fend or work for themselves in an attempt to afford these styles. B. In a paper published by David Dunkley’s on February 11, 1999, Turf wars were cited as one of the reasons for boys not returning home at nights. From having spoken to street children ourselves, we saw that this was in fact one of the reasons many felt they could not return home at nights and so remained on the streets, as they feared for their lives.
Others received money, protection and the needed support from the “don” (local area leader), who used them as carriers for their illicit wares. On interviewing these children, we also realized that a few of them had behavioral problems. It was found that the children, who exhibited extreme forms of behavioral problems, were from larger families with one or no parent and were the ones who were particularly into sporadic school attendance. They were the ones who were also from depressed communities where overcrowding was a problem and living conditions were poor.
During our research, a child highlighted some of his reason for being on the streets. He reported that he lived in a single room house with his mother and other siblings and was forced to leave the house when his mother was “entertaining”. Another child, who resided with his grandparent, complained that he could not live with her because she was miserable and demanding. Hence he avoided going home as he disliked the living conditions and is thereby a street child. In our survey, 92% of the children were boys and they were involved in a number of activities: they pushed carts, they carried people’s luggage.
They sold items for others, they bought and sold items, some went to sea and some were there just to check their “brethren”. One little boy in particular said that when he is on the street he “run up an’ down”. Not surprisingly though is the fact that the majority are involved in one or another economic activity. In fact 75% admitted to be so involved. These activities, according to these children yield great returns. In 1986 children were making a maximum of $21. 00 per day, now 75% of them made over $1000. 00 per day. One child stated that he made over $1,800. 0 per day. Seventeen percent of them were reluctant to reveal their daily earnings or simply did not know. If these figures are truly representative of what a child makes on the street, it is no wonder that they are willing to remain there regardless of the harsh treatment, which is meted out to them by the general public. It is evident that the economic pull to street life is greater now than in the 1980s and 1990s. Hence this remains a major factor for children being on the streets. When we question, “Why are these children living on the streets in my community? there are many reasons and excuses. Many are in search of love and acceptance; others see it as a means of survival or an outlet. The real question however is, “Is there hope for these children? ” In answering the question, is there hope for these children, one would be tempted to give a resounding yes. But can this be justified? The plight of the street children has not been ignored by the Jamaican Government, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and International organizations. In fact, programmes have been put in place to alleviate problems of child labour in Kingston.
These include RISE Life Management who plays a great role in my community, Children First, Hope for Children, The Possibility Programme, St. Andrew Care Centre, the National Initiative for Street Children (NISC), Tackle Child Labour by the International Labour Organization and the Socialization Project by the Kingston Restoration Company. Mainly the United Children Educational Foundation (UNICEF) funds many of these programmes. All of the named institutions have been established to alleviate problems of child labor and neglected children in the metropolitan area.
Most of these institutions aim at giving these children institution Management provides counseling, classes and youth programs for street children in my community. Children First aims at reintroducing them into the formal school system. It reunites them with their families and monitors their attendance in the government schools. Map 3 shows their specific location in Kingston, and proximity to my community the main study area. The residence of the street children are located in mostly densely populated homes where the standard of living is low and living conditions harsh.
Many of the institutions that are put in place to help them are located within the community or close by. [pic] In these institutions, a number of activities are planned for the children, some outside the classroom. All the organizations have regular school activities inclusive of Mathematics, English, Reading, Social Studies, Science, and Computing. At Children First there is a thematic teaching system in which themes are chosen by the students, for example, “Children Rights”. They also offer skills training programs such as cosmetology, barbering and photography. At NISC,
Children First for example, has aided a number of students to attend universities both local and international. For example, there is a student studying medicine in Cuba, and one, at The Edna Manley School Of Art is studying to become an actor. Two-thirds of the staff is graduates of the program. Mrs. Pious, executive director of Children First has found that in order to improve the lives of the children, it is often necessary to improve the lives of the parents or guardians as well. As a result, the program has enabled many parents to start small businesses such as chicken rearing, ewing and goat rearing. At Hope for Children, students have been involved in drama. A few of their past productions include “Come Listen to We”, “Wicked Reality” and “Man, Woman and Child”. The street children in my community seemed very ambitious and their occupational aspirations were wide and varied. Figure 2 shows the career choice of the street children. DESIRED OCCUPATION OF THE STREET CHILDREN 10 8 6 4 2 0 OCCUPATIONS What is noticeable is that only the needs of the carpenter and the fisherman and to a lesser extent that of a truck driver are catered to by these institution.
The implication of this is that if they boys are taken off the street and placed in any of these institutions, their aspirations would not be met. The formal educational institutions however could meet their goals, but they have to, to a large extent turn their backs on these institutions. One still have to wonder, is there hope for these children? What is heartening is that the children, although they were on the street, thought that education was important and that it was the only way for them to achieve their goals. In fact, 83% of them believe that education is important in their acquiring their career goals.
It is often times said that where there is a will there is a way. Even though many of the children have the desire to attain upper socio-economic mobility, they were often times forced to attend these institutions. When the Administrators were asked about the institutionalization of the children, they indicated that few children came in voluntarily. In fact, Most of the children were sent there by parents, concerned citizens and police officers. Overall, having been forced to attend has caused them to be defiant and hostile to the programme.
At Children First most of the children attend voluntarily and hence their level of success is greater. We also found from our interview that 6% of the children did not even know where the institutions were located or even that they existed. Overall, from my observation, the programmes I have studied have shown a level of success. But in light of the negative aspects, which we have observed, I recommend the following: 1. A public education programme on radio and television, which highlights why contributions should be given directly to the programmes in place instead of the children. . Implementing more self-help schemes for the parents or guardians of the street children, that is, helping them to generate a steady income. 3. Government should make the needs of street children one of its priorities. More money should be allocated to these programmes to effect changes. 4. Make the public aware of the plight of our nation’s future through the introduction of a Street Children Day in Child month and Media coverage (when people become aware, they will become sympathetic and generous). DATA COLLECTION INSTRUMENT Sample of Questionnaire 1. Gender Tick (/)
Male ( )Female ( ) 2. Age 10-11 years ( )12-13 years ( )14-15 years ( )16-17 years ( ) 3. How long have you been on the streets? 6 months-1 year ( )2-3 years ( )4-5 years ( )6 years and over ( ) 4. When you were at home, what type of family did you live in? Single ( )Nuclear ( )Extended ( ) Other ( ) 5. Do you plan on returning home? Yes ( ) No ( ) 6. Do you like living on the street? Yes ( ) No ( ) 7. What are some of the factors that are responsible for you becoming a street child? Abandoned by parents ( )Disruptive behaviors/can’t be controlled ( )
Ran away from home ( )Other ( ) 8. What was the main punishment received at home? Beating/Flogging ( )Indecent language ( )Being put to starve ( ) Other ( ) 9. What type of relationship do you have with your family now that you are on the streets? Excellent ( )Poor ( ) Fair ( ) None ( ) 10. Do you think its better being on the streets that at home? Yes ( ) No ( ) If yes why? ______________________________________________________________ 11. How do you provide for yourself on the streets? Begging ( )Stealing ( )Searching household garbage ( ) 12. Do you ever wish you never left home?
Yes ( )No ( ) 13. How does being a street child affect you emotionally? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ 14. How does being a street child affect your physical appearance? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ 15. Were you in school? Yes ( )No ( ) 16. If yes what grade/form where you in? 17. Are you able to read and write? Yes ( )No ( ) 18.
What are the measures that can be taken to get street children off the streets? Put them in state homes ( ) Have counseling sessions with them and put them up for adoption ( ) Establish laws to punish parents who contribute to their child being on the streets ( ) 19. Do you think the measures will work for you? Yes ( ) No ( ) Maybe ( ) 20. What can persons who wish to become parents do to avoid children leaving home to live on the streets? Attend parenting sessions on how to care for the child ( ) Talk to the child/children to find out what is bothering them ( )
Get involved in activities at the child school to see how well they are doing () BIBLIOGRAPHY Agnelli (1986), Street Children- A growing urban tragedy -Report for the Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues Boyce-Reid, k. (1993) A Report on Street Children Projects http://gvnet. com/streetchildren/Jamaica. htm David Dunkley(1999) :Street Children- effects of urbanization ----------------------- School Based Assessment on Street Children in my community FISHERMAN FIRE MAN CARPENTER PERCENTAGES DOCTOR BUSINESS MAN TEACHER TRUCK DRIVER BANK CLERK Stall Cart
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