© Sophia Paris/UN Photo                          Protection and promotion of                          the rights of childr...
Protection and promotion ofthe rights of children workingand/or living on the street
Protection and promotion of rotectionthe rights of children workingand/or living on the street                            ...
CONTENTS                                                                                          Paragraphs       Page   ...
© J. Maillard/ILO6                    Preface
H        uman Rights Council Resolution 16/12 on           with almost universal ratification, makes no special        the ...
AFP PHOTO                                Doychinov/                      © NikolayI.        Introduction                  ...
duties for different actors; marks a milestone in          7.      Another essential instrument that protectsrecognizing a...
Today, “street children” is understood as a socially    The frequently cited global estimate of more thanconstructed categ...
study in Mali and Ghana found that in Bamako,          17. Overwhelmed families often struggle tothe large majority of chi...
inequalities, a poor socio-cultural context and            away by local businesses or detained by policeinadequate social...
E. VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN IN STREET                     observations on Cambodia (CRC/C/KHM/SITUATIONS                 ...
IV. Roles and responsibilities                            32. Comprehensive child protection systems                      ...
© K. Lease34. It is clear from experience that developing           ground, whose size allow flexibility and whosea governm...
•	 Outreach support on the street by social street                   government, parliament and the judiciary, as   worker...
(e)   Sustainability means ensuring continuity          42. Despite the lack of agreement on definitions,      of support t...
trends and head counts by teams of social workers         to children’s experiences and a systemic approachusing triangula...
VII. Children’s voices                                   connections to this work. In Ecuador, one boy                    ...
topic, refraining from participating, not wanting        family, neighbourhood and school. The street is ato get involved ...
(d)    Take a coordinated approach acrossall government departments, including thosewith responsibilities for finance, trad...
staff in schools; medical                                                                                            staff...
of rights, as recommended by the Committee on            disaggregate data wherever available, in orderthe Rights of the C...
AnnexFindings fromConsultations with ChildrenChildren’s Voices Paper1:“Nothing about us, without us”2I  n order to bring t...
•	 Who inspires you and why?                               When a 16 year old boy in Ecuador was asked if                 ...
AnnexA group of younger children in Uganda said that a      I managed to sell anything or not because I knewteacher and co...
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Protection and promotion of the rights of street children
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5

Protection and promotion of the rights of street children


Published on

OHCHR and UNICEF publication

Published in: Education
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Protection and promotion of the rights of street children

  1. 1. © Sophia Paris/UN Photo Protection and promotion of the rights of children working and/or living on the street
  2. 2. Protection and promotion ofthe rights of children workingand/or living on the street
  3. 3. Protection and promotion of rotectionthe rights of children workingand/or living on the street ILO rozet/ © M. CSummaryT he present report conditions, including growing The report makes a number research more participatory. analyses the inequalities and patterns of recommendations to States As requested by the Human circumstances of children of urbanisation. The report and draws attention to this Rights Council, childrenworking and/or living on analyses the causes that lead moment of opportunity when working and/or living on thethe streets. It concludes children to the street and the States are developing or street have been consultedthat the actual number of challenges they face in their strengthening comprehensive in the preparation of thechildren who depend on the everyday lives. It recognises child protection systems; present report. Investing instreets for their survival and that before reaching the civil society organizations children in street situations isdevelopment is not known streets, children will have are consolidating promising essential to building a societyand that the number fluctuates experienced multiple specialized interventions; that respects human dignity,according to socio-economic, deprivations and violations of data collection is becoming because every child counts.political and4 cultural their rights. more systematic and
  4. 4. CONTENTS Paragraphs Page Preface 6 I. Introduction 1–2 8 II. International legal standards 3–7 8 III. Children and their connections to the street 8–28 9 A. Terminology and figures 8–13 9 B. Characteristics and experiences 14–15 10 C. Causes leading children to the street 16–19 11 D. Challenges facing children in street situations 20–24 12 E. Violence against children in street situations 25–28 13 IV. Roles and responsibilities 29–36 14 V. Criteria for good practices 37–40 15 VI. Data collection 41–48 17 VII. Children’s voices 49–61 19 A. The child as an individual 50–53 19 B. Access to support 54–57 19 C. Access to rights 58–61 19 VIII. Conclusions and recommendations 62–79 20 Annex 24 NOTE The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. This report, prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, has been produced through a unique cross-sector partnership with the Consortium for Street Children, Aviva and UNICEF. i/ILO/ILO ianott eloche © E. G©PD he/ILO eloc 5 © P. D
  5. 5. © J. Maillard/ILO6 Preface
  6. 6. H uman Rights Council Resolution 16/12 on with almost universal ratification, makes no special the protection and promotion of the rights of reference to children working and/or living on the children working and/or living on the street street, all its provisions are applicable to them.attracted more co-sponsors than almost any other Children living and/or working in the streetsresolution since the creation of the Human Rights cannot be considered as a social problem but,Council in 2006. Such high support testifies to instead, as human beings with full potential toStates’ recognition of the importance of advancing contribute to society and as positive agents foran issue which had not been a direct focus of change. They must be able to participate in mattersUN attention since the early 1990’s when it was affecting them and be empowered to speak up fordiscussed on several occasions at the General the fulfillment of their rights. Effective strategies toAssembly and the then Human Rights Commission. protect children with street connections must ensureThis report, prepared by the Office of the High their participation in the design, development andCommissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) through a evaluation of programmes to support them. This isunique cross-sector partnership with the Consortium a moment of opportunity, as States are developingfor Street Children, Aviva and the United Nations and/or strengthening comprehensive childChildren’s Fund (UNICEF), concludes that the number protection systems; civil society organizations areof children in street situations fluctuates according consolidating promising specialized interventions;to socio-economic, political and cultural conditions, data collection is becoming more systematic; andincluding growing inequalities and patterns of research studies adopt an increasingly participatoryurbanization. It recognizes that before reaching the approach.street, children have experienced multiple deprivationsand violations of their rights, which leads to them We hope that this report will serve as a platform fordeveloping strong connections to the street. future work at national, regional and local levels, as investing in children who are in street situations isA rights-based approach starts from the premise an essential ingredient to building a society whichthat all children are “rights holders”. All children, respects human dignity and human rights.irrespective of their economic status, race, colour,sex, language, religion, national, ethnic or socialorigin, property, disability, birth or any other status Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rightshave the same rights and are entitled to the same United Nations Children’s Fundprotection by the State. While the Convention on Consortium for Street Childrenthe Rights of the Child, an international instrument Aviva 7
  7. 7. AFP PHOTO Doychinov/ © NikolayI. Introduction to gather input from different stakeholders. Two documents were commissioned by OHCHR1. This report is submitted to the Human Rights for this process: a global research paper byCouncil pursuant to resolution 16/12 of 24 March independent consultant, Dr. Sarah Thomas de2011, in which it invited the Office of the High Benitez; and a paper on the views of childrenCommissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to led by the Consortium for Street Children. Bothconduct a study on challenges, lessons learned and documents, as well as the results of the consultation,best practices in a holistic, child rights and gender- written submissions, input from States and otherbased approach to protect and promote the rights stakeholders informed the preparation of thisof children working and/or living on the street and report. All these documents and informationto present it to the Council at its nineteenth session. about the process are available at http://www.It also requested OHCHR to conduct the study in ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Children/Study/Pages/close collaboration with relevant stakeholders, childrenonthestreet.aspx.including States, the United Nations Children’sFund (UNICEF) and other United Nations bodiesand agencies, the Special Representative of the II. International legalSecretary-General on violence against children, theSpecial Representative of the Secretary-General for standardschildren and armed conflict, the Special Rapporteur 3. The international legal frameworkon the sale of children, child prostitution and child establishing the obligations of States in relationpornography and other relevant special procedures to children has never been as comprehensive asmandate holders, regional organizations, civil it is today. The 1989 Convention on the Rightssociety, national human rights institutions as well as of the Child constitutes the main internationalchildren themselves. instrument for the promotion and protection of the2. Contributions were received from States, rights of the child, and it applies to all children inintergovernmental organizations, national human all circumstances. Its almost universal ratificationrights institutions, non-governmental organizations demonstrates the importance that States accord(NGOs), academia and individual experts. On 1 to the protection and promotion of the rightsand 2 November 2011, OHCHR, with the support of children. The Convention is unique as theof Aviva,1 the Consortium for Street Children first legally binding instrument to take a holisticand UNICEF, organized an expert consultation approach to the rights of the child. It covers aon children working and/or living on the street, whole range of rights – civil, political, economic, social and cultural; establishes a framework of1 Aviva is the world’s sixth largest insurance group and the largest in the United Kingdom (www.aviva.com).8
  8. 8. duties for different actors; marks a milestone in 7. Another essential instrument that protectsrecognizing all children as rights holders and the rights of children in street situations, givenreaffirms the general principles of best interests of their risk of being trafficked, is the Protocol tothe child, non-discrimination, participation, survival Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons,and development as the framework for all actions especially Women and Children. There are alsoconcerning children. several non-binding instruments which set standards on juvenile justice, such as the United Nations4. All children, irrespective of their economic Standard Minimum Rules for the Administrationstatus, race, colour, sex, language, religion, of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules), the Unitednational, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenilebirth or any other status have the same rights and Delinquency (The Riyadh Guidelines) and the Unitedare entitled to the same protection by the State. Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles DeprivedWhile the Convention makes no particular reference of their Liberty (Havana Rules). The recently adoptedto children working and/or living on the street, all Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Childrenits provisions are applicable to them. are intended to enhance the implementation of the5. The Committee on the Rights of the Child, Convention on the Rights of the Child and otherthe body of experts in charge of monitoring the international instruments regarding the protectionimplementation of the Convention, regularly and well-being of children deprived of parental care.raises the issue of children in street situations in its They provide guidance on policies and practices fordialogue with State parties, and refers specifically the alternative care of children.to their situation in several of its general comments,in particular No. 13 (2011) on the right of thechild to freedom from all forms of violence, No. III. Children and their12 (2009) on the right of the child to be heardand No. 10 (2007) on children’s rights in juvenile connections to the streetjustice. Other treaty bodies have also referredto the situation of children, both boys and girls, A. TERMINOLOGY AND FIGURESliving and working in the street, and have maderecommendations in this regard. 8. The term “street child,” used by the Commission on Human Rights in 1994, was6. In addition to the Convention, its Optional developed in the 1980s to describe “any girl orProtocols on the sale of children, child prostitution boy [...] for whom the street (in the broadest senseand child pornography and on the involvement of the word, including unoccupied dwellings,of children in armed conflict and the recently wasteland, etc.) has become his or her habitualadopted Optional Protocol on a communications abode and/or source of livelihood, and who isprocedure, it must be noted that all core human inadequately protected, supervised or directed byrights treaties apply to both adults and children; responsible adults.” At that time, “street children”indeed, some contain specific provisions relating were categorized as either children on the street,to children, such as article 7 of the Convention who worked on the street and went home to theiron the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Other families at night; children of the street, who lived oninternational instruments also are key to the the street, were functionally without family supportprotection of children working and/or living on but maintained family links; or abandoned childrenthe street, particularly those dealing with child who lived completely on their own.labour, trafficking, juvenile justice and alternativecare for children. These include the Minimum Age 9. Research in the 1990s found theseConvention No. 138 (1973) and Worst Forms categories did not accurately reflect the children’sof Child Labour Convention No. 182 (1999) of circumstances or experiences. It was also generallythe International Labour Office, which distinguish agreed that the term “street child” carriedbetween acceptable work carried out by children negative connotations. Although the term can beand economic exploitation, or child labour, of used pejoratively, some street children and theirwhich total abolition should be achieved. representative organizations use it with pride. 9
  9. 9. Today, “street children” is understood as a socially The frequently cited global estimate of more thanconstructed category that, in practice, does not 100 million street children has been questioned.constitute a homogeneous population, making the Research undertaken for this report concludesterm difficult to use for research, policymaking and that global estimates of the number of children inintervention design. street situations have no basis in fact, and we are no closer today to knowing how many children10. Terminology has continued to evolve to worldwide are working and/or living in the streets.recognize children as social actors whose lives There is general agreement that estimates in theare not circumscribed by the street. Human Rights 1980s were exaggerated, but a rapidly urbanizingCouncil resolution 16/12 refers to children working and growing global population, together withand/or living on the street, and the Committee increasing inequalities and migration, suggest thaton the Rights of the Child has adopted the term numbers are generally increasing, including in“children in street situations,” recognizing that richer regions. The number and flow of childrenchildren engage in numerous activities on the street onto the streets of a given city or country mayand that if there is a “problem” it is not the child, fluctuate significantly according to changes in socio-but rather the situations in which s/he finds her/ economic and cultural-political contexts, availabilityhimself. of protection services and patterns of urbanization.11. As recognized during the expert 13. A number of country-wide analysesconsultation, new terminology is emerging which in countries as diverse as Romania, Mexico,emphasizes relationships and “street connections,” Zimbabwe, Egypt, Georgia and Turkey, as well asdrawing attention to choices children make in contributions to this study from States, demonstratedeveloping relationships on the street, alongside the complexity of making reliable estimates ofother connections they have with their families, children in the streets. What is known is thatneighbourhoods and schools. Most children children with street connections form a relativelyhave some connections with the street (for play, small proportion of the global population ofsocialization, leisure and consumption) but are children, and international concern should be lessnot reliant on public spaces for their development; about numbers and more about the persistence ofthey have stronger connections with family, school appalling conditions that force children to choose toand peers in the community. Taking a holistic move onto urban streets.approach that understands children as growingand developing within a series of inter-connected B. CHARACTERISTICS AND EXPERIENCESenvironments, the term “street connections”recognizes that the street may be a crucial point of 14. Street children have typically beenreference for some children, even when they are represented as male, aged around 13 or 14,not physically present there. Street connections can engaged in substance abuse, early sexual activity,become vital to children’s everyday survival, their delinquency, and either orphaned or abandoned.selection of coping strategies, and their identity These stereotypes reflect public attitudes towardsdevelopment. A street-connected child is understood street children more than the reality of individualas a child for whom the street is a central reference children’s lives. Such representations arepoint – one which plays a significant role in his/her problematic because they fail to capture diverseeveryday life and identity. realities of children’s lives. Children seen as12. This report acknowledges there are a number “victims” are more likely to be treated as passiveof terms and definitions in use, including “children objects of welfare rather than as rights holders,working and/or living on the street,” “children while children seen as “delinquents” are more likelyin street situations” and “children with street to be subjected to violence and to end up in theconnections,” each having the potential to offer penal system.distinctive insights and to encourage new avenues 15. In reality, the characteristics of children onof research. At the same time, contested definitions the streets are very diverse. While in many cities,and evolving terminology have made it difficult to children in street situations are predominantly male,estimate the number of children in street situations. in some places, girls outnumber boys (a 200510
  10. 10. study in Mali and Ghana found that in Bamako, 17. Overwhelmed families often struggle tothe large majority of children counted were boys, cope in overcrowded, inadequate housing, withwhile in Accra, three out of four were girls). increased health risks and poor access to basicSimilarly, some children are born on the streets but services, sometimes migrating or moving betweenothers move onto the streets only in adolescence. poor neighbourhoods. Unstable, often violentDiscrimination around ethnicity also shapes risks circumstances can weaken children’s familyfaced by and opportunities open to children. In connections as well as their access to adequatesome Latin American countries, for example, a schooling, educational performance, friendshipsdisproportionate number of indigenous children and other relationships, weakeningare in street situations. Experiences of street their connections to school andwork, sexual activity and substance use are community.similarly diverse, reflecting government 18. Other pathways topolicies, local cultures, formal and illegal the street include HIV/AIDS,market realities, social transformations harmful practices such asand inequalities, as well as children’s early and forced marriages,characteristics and experiences. natural disasters, war and internal displacement.C. CAUSES LEADING CHILDREN TO THE These, alongside experiencesSTREET of violence, abuse and16. Traditionally, economic poverty neglect at home, canand family breakdown or abandonment of be understood withinchildren were held in combination to be a framework ofthe main causes of street children. significantHowever, conventional wisdom incomehas been challenged in bothrespects. First, while poverty canbe an important pathway tothe street, the great majority ofchildren who live in economicpoverty do not end up inthe streets. Second, whilemany families of childrenin street situations havebeen identified as fragile,violent or unstable,orphaned or abandonedchildren are moreunusual. Most families ofstreet-connected childrenhave experienced persistentdiscrimination, poverty and socialexclusion within societies whereinequalities are high and/or growing. Few have receivedeconomic support, child-careassistance, help to ensure that absentparents assume responsibilities towardstheir children, access to mental healthor drug rehabilitation services. © J. Maillard/ILO 11
  11. 11. inequalities, a poor socio-cultural context and away by local businesses or detained by policeinadequate social protection that together deprive for processing in the penal system (repressivechildren of many of their rights. approach).19. These are often called “push” factors, that 22. Both the welfare and repressive approachesis, causes that encourage or force children onto the fail to take into account the child as a rights holderstreet. There are also “pull” factors that can help or put the best interests of the child first. From amake the street attractive to a child – although these rights-based perspective, the greatest challengeplay a much smaller role in leading children into faced by a child in a street situation is beingstreet situations. Pull factors include spatial freedom, recognized and treated as a rights holder.financial independence, adventure, city glamour 23. A related challenge in the street is managingand street-based friendships or gangs. These can relationships – whether abusive, exploitative and/develop over time into strong street connections or supportive – with family and friends, governmentthat, combined with social stigma and prejudices, officials, including the police, NGO workers,make it difficult for children to find desirable options the local business community, employers, gangoff the street. Each child has a unique story of push leaders and members, and the public. Children’sand pull factors that led him or her, sometimes relationships can help them survive on the streetsrepeatedly and in different ways, to develop street and/or perpetuate conditions of violent abuse ofconnections. their rights. The nature and intensity of on-street relationships are mediated in part by the socio-D. CHALLENGES FACING CHILDREN IN STREET cultural context, and in part by characteristics suchSITUATIONS as gender and age (for example, younger children20. The most complex challenge faced by and girls may need to adopt submissive roles inchildren in the streets is dealing with the perceptions gangs to obtain some degree of protection).of those around them and the treatment they are 24. Other, more specific challenges presentconsequently afforded. It should be borne in mind in wider society can be exacerbated in streetthat the majority of these children have already situations, particularly those related to access toexperienced multiple violations of their rights before basic services, and physical and mental healthspending time on the streets, whether at home or in issues. Challenges can include disproportionatelycare, including in institutions such as orphanages, high rates of substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, sexuallydetention centres, rehabilitation centres and juvenile transmitted infections, pregnancy, random violence,justice institutions. suicidal thoughts, exposure to pollution and traffic21. A rights-based approach starts from the accidents. Children in the streets – particularlypremise that all children are “rights holders.” In those who spend time living there – are alsoreality, children in street situations are deprived of likely to lose access to basic services to which allmany of their rights – both before and during their children are entitled, either because they lack thetime on the streets – and while on the street, they identity documents deemed necessary for healthare more likely to be seen as victims or delinquents care, schooling, etc., or because establishmentsthan as rights holders. Whether a child is viewed as or individual officers discriminate against them.a victim or a delinquent depends on who is viewing According to a 2011 UNICEF report on HIV amongand the social attitudes towards the children’s adolescents in Ukraine, children working and/orcharacteristics (age, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc) living on the streets in Ukraine were found to beand the activities in which he or she is engaged disproportionately vulnerable to HIV due to several(selling flowers versus sniffing glue). A child seen behavioural factors: 22 per cent had experienceas “victim” might be subjected to further abuse injecting drugs; 65 per cent of girls providedor exploitation or might be “rescued” from the commercial sex services or “sex for reward”; 7 perstreet (welfare approach) and perhaps placed in a cent of boys reported having had sex with men;children’s shelter. A child viewed as “delinquent” and only 13 per cent always used condoms withmight be targeted to join a criminal group, driven casual sexual partners.12
  12. 12. E. VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN IN STREET observations on Cambodia (CRC/C/KHM/SITUATIONS CO/2), the Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern about the “cleaning up the25. All children have the right to freedom from all streets” operations conducted by police, such asforms of violence, as recognized by the Convention one in early 2008, during which many children inon the Rights of the Child and GC-13 on art 19 of street situations were sent to rehabilitation centres,the Convention. According to the Committee on the illegally confined and subjected to a variety ofRights of the Child, children in street situations are abuses which, in some cases, resulted in death,at high risk of suffering violence, particularly torture including by suicide.and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.Indeed, a pervasive thread running through the 27. During the preparation of this report, thechallenges faced by street-connected children is issue of violence against children by the police wastheir persistent exposure to and direct experiences repeatedly raised. It should be noted, that manyof violence, whether physical, sexual and/or children reported having received friendly advice andpsychological in nature. Life stories of children with support from some police officers. However, abusesstreet connections are infused with violence, often by the police are rarely investigated and impunity isfrom an early age. commonplace. Without appropriate, child-sensitive counselling, complaint and reporting mechanisms to26. One result is that children moving onto the which street-connected children can report incidents ofstreet can evidence anything from psychological violence, police impunity is likely to continue.distress to profound trauma. While the streetscan offer respite from domestic or community- 28. Such extensive exposure to violence underliesbased violence, they expose children to other children’s other challenges in the street and carriessettings for and forms of violence, including daily serious consequences for long-term health andpsychological violence through stigmatization and personal development through adolescence intointimidation of street children; random physical adulthood. Children’s ability to trust and formand/or sexual violence by other street inhabitants attachments may be severely damaged, withor members of the public; expressions of violence potential effects for their development of futurewithin street gangs; by organizers of forced sex- relationships. The costs to the children, their familyselling or vagrancy; by local businesses; through and friends and society as a whole are heavy.forcible police round-ups; premeditated rapes Understanding the effects of violence is critical toand extrajudicial killings. In its recent concluding protecting children. © Kibae Park/UN photo 13
  13. 13. IV. Roles and responsibilities 32. Comprehensive child protection systems (CPS) are being developed and strengthened in29. Under international human rights law, States, many countries in response to these needs as anas the principal duty bearers, are accountable for organizational form consistent with a rights-based,respecting, protecting and fulfilling children’s rights holistic approach, capable of delineating roleswithin their territories. While States play the role of and responsibilities, with integrated mechanismsthe principal duty bearer for all children – including for reporting by children and other data collection,street-connected children – other non-State entities, quality standards, research and analysis, forprofessionals and individuals are also recognized accountability. However, a systems approach isby the Convention on the Rights of the Child as conceptually a relative newcomer to social workduty bearers in the fulfilment of children’s rights. and child protection, so child protection systemsThey include parents and families, teachers, doctors are still a work in progress, and as yet there is noand social workers, employers and/or probation precise, commonly agreed, definition or descriptionofficers. States have the obligation, as principal of such a system. UNICEF proposed the followingduty bearers, to ensure that the secondary duty working definition: “Child protection systemsbearers have the knowledge and means to carry out comprise the set of laws, policies, regulationstheir specific obligations. and services needed across all social sectors – especially social welfare, education, health, security30. Protecting children and preventing and justice – to support prevention and response toexperiences of multiple deprivations implies taking protection related risks”2 – a far-reaching definitiona holistic approach that understands children’s which includes laws and policies as well as servicesrelationships as interdependent and interconnected, across all sectors relevant to children. Save theand therefore recognizes that rights can be Children has identified 11 key components for aviolated – but also defended – by a range of duty successful national CPS, namely, a legal framework,bearers within the family, the community and wider a national strategy, a coordinating agency, localsociety, including the international community. protection services, child-friendly justice, childDefending children from violence and other rights participation, a supportive public, a trainedviolations that push children into developing workforce, adequate resources, standards andconnections with the streets requires a coordinated monitoring mechanism and data collection systems.3and comprehensive approach across governmentdepartments (from finance, through trade, 33. A fully functioning CPS is likely to greatlyemployment, social sectors – such as recreation and improve protection for all children, includingsports, health, education and social well-being) and those at the highest risk of moving into streetwith the involvement of duty bearers at the family situations. A priority area for protecting childrenand community levels. from the multiple deprivations that push children into developing street connections is the provision31. Such an approach can only work if an of support for families and other carers at theoverarching system to protect children is put in community level to ensure children are safe and canplace – a system in which duty bearers understand access their rights. Examples of such support mightand assume their roles and responsibilities include universal child benefits through payments toand can be held accountable for protecting the main carer; tax relief and economic support forchildren’s rights. Clear delineations of the roles single heads of household, incentives for fathers toand responsibilities of each duty bearer must be support their children and play positive parentingexplicitly agreed in codes of conduct, memoranda, roles, early detection of domestic violence and localprotocols or manuals to avoid children falling into protection schemes, provision of pre-school andgaps between services, and inefficient, potentially after-school child care in the local community.harmful, duplication when the limits of roles andresponsibilities are not clear. Accountability isnecessary to ensure that when children’s rights are 2 See E/ICEF/2008/5/Rev.1, para. 12.violated, the corresponding duty bearers can be 3 See Save the Children, “Keys to successful national childidentified and held accountable. protection systems,” May 2011.14
  14. 14. © K. Lease34. It is clear from experience that developing ground, whose size allow flexibility and whosea government-led, multi-stakeholder, national expertise is in local street connections. TheseCPS, using existing legislation and social values, interventions should be firmly linked to a nationalwhich is rights-based in practice and capable of CPS to be able to coordinate children’s accessprotecting children from multiple deprivations takes to the range of basic services. When States aretime, financial resources, as well as significant unable, in the short-term, to provide necessaryconsultation and commitment. Evidence suggests resources and support, the private sector, academiathat emerging child protection systems should focus and the international community might be engagedon core areas of child protection, social well-being, as partners to ensure that specialized interventionsjustice and security. Early introduction of data by delegated duty bearers have the means andcollection systems and research mechanisms have capacity to fulfil the rights of children who havebeen found useful – for example in West Africa – developed strong connections to the street.for periodic mapping and analysis of progress toaddress problems and recognize early successes.35. Specialized interventions offer children V. Criteria for goodwho develop street connections the personalized practicessupport they need to access their rights. In line witha rights-based, holistic approach, these specialized 37. There are many examples in all regions ofinterventions should take a child-centred approach; initiatives developed by States and non-State entitiesaccompany each child over time to build a that seek to address rights violations experienced byrelationship, consider effects of multiple deprivations children in street situations. These include:and understand his or her street connections; ensure • Local policies: designed in close consultationhe or she can have full access to basic services; offer with civil society, academia and communityand/or refer the child to specialized services (psycho- groups, for example in the city of Rio de Janeiro,social counselling, support for drug abuse, trauma Brazil, around railway stations in India andtherapies, empowerment through sports, complaint as part of Canada’s Homelessness Partneringand reporting mechanisms, support services) that can Strategy to make a range of services availablehelp the child to (re)connect positively with family to young persons with street connections;and local community services. Such interventions donot necessarily imply that a child should renounce his • Training for law-enforcement officers on child rightsor her street connections, but rather than his or her and child protection: initiated by some States, foraccess to rights should be fully guaranteed. example in 2008-2009, the Consortium for Street Children partnered with Ethiopia’s Police University36. Evidence suggests that specialized College and UNICEF to train police trainers, whointerventions that are tailor-made and personalized have since, in turn, trained 36,000 police officersare better managed by small groups close to the throughout the country; 15
  15. 15. • Outreach support on the street by social street government, parliament and the judiciary, as workers trained in child-centred approaches: stated in the Committee’s general comment increasingly used as a participatory approach No. 5 (2003) on general measures of to building relationships with children over implementation of the Convention. time in their own spaces in cities as diverse as (b) Non-discrimination: children in street Kinshasa, Mexico City, New Delhi and Brussels; situations have the right to be treated as all• Support for families: the focus of organizations other children. Equality does not mean that in a number of countries, for example, Safe rights have to be delivered in the same way; Families Safe Children Coalition is a group of the best interests of each child determine organizations working together across the globe how that child’s rights can best be achieved. to strengthen family relationships to create home Explicit discrimination includes vagrancy environments where street-connected children laws and policies allowing street children can gain sustainable access to their rights. to be detained for survival behaviours; implicit discrimination includes requiring38. The above examples illustrate the broad birth certificates to access health care oragreement that identifying and sharing good education.practices contribute to safeguarding children’srights. There has, however, been little research (c) Participation is a right and a practicalinto what “good practice” means in relation to imperative. The opinion of street-connectedchildren with street connections. And there is no children should inform policies, plans andagreement about what constitutes good practice interventions designed to address them.in arenas as diverse as procedures for reporting Street-connected children may have difficultyviolations of children’s rights; public-private-NGO forming positive relationships with adults,partnerships; child protection systems; street-based therefore care, consistency and respect,services; support for families; research; capacity- built over time, are important to ensure theirbuilding, knowledge sharing and organizational meaningful participation.development; advocacy; policies and strategies; (d) Accountability on the part of courtsbudgets and financing mechanisms; legislation; and tribunals, which should respect street-international cooperation for street-connected connected children by listening to themchildren. Criteria for good practice need to reach and taking due account of their viewsacross all levels of practice that concern children and experiences; offering child-friendlywith street connections. justice; having staff trained in child-friendly39. For this study, 10 criteria were developed as procedures and child rights; using languagea basis for discussion. Five are cross-cutting criteria that can be understood by street-connectedwhich coincide with three general principles of the children; and enforcing judgments. ChildrenConvention on the Rights of the Child and should who are victims of violations are entitled toalways be evident in good practices; five are reparation, restitution, compensation andnormative criteria reflecting experiences of children guarantees of non-repetition. Mechanismswith street connections, which may or may not be for accountability should ensure States andrelevant in all practices, namely, safety, availability, other actors comply with their obligationsaccessibility, quality and flexibility.4 to children, for example through monitoring and evaluating practices; receiving and40. The cross-cutting criteria which should form responding to complaints; providing remediesthe basis of good practices are as follows: or redress for human rights violations.(a) Best interests of children in street situations must be a primary concern in all actions that concern them – by parents, carers, 4 For details of the normative criteria and examples of the lawmakers, policymakers, welfare institutions cross-cutting criteria, please refer to the Global Research Paper and those who influence or control resource presented to the Expert Consultation on 1-2 November 2011, available at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Children/ allocation, including decisions throughout Study/Pages/ExpertConsultation.aspx.16
  16. 16. (e) Sustainability means ensuring continuity 42. Despite the lack of agreement on definitions, of support to defend children’s enjoyment a number of States have conducted well-designed, of their rights. Sustainability of individual national or city-wide studies by clarifying the improvements means providing children definitions they are using. Thus, definitional with appropriate support so they can enjoy difficulties are not an insuperable barrier for data their rights into youth and adulthood. This collection. Recent advances in terminology, such requires appropriate legal, financial and “children in street situations,” used by the Committee policy support. Sustainability implies finding and current work around “street connections,” cost-effective investments rather than limiting suggest new avenues for reaching international action to assumptions of “means available.” agreement on definitions and terminology consistent with a rights-based, holistic approach.VI. Data collection 43. Some key methodological difficulties have been addressed by various innovative means, for41. As reflected in the submissions by example, counting and describing populations ofgovernments, few States collect or regularly update children in the streets, the capture-recapture methodinformation about children in street situations – the used with respondent-driven sampling and to gathermain reasons cited being contested definitions; qualitative information about their circumstancesmethodological difficulties due to the children’s and experiences, and the rapid assessment methodelusiveness and mobility; lack of investment in developed by UNICEF and ILO. Meanwhile, NGOsresearch; and lack of policy leadership. However, working with children in street situations haverecent advances, made in all four areas, encourage conducted innovative data collection at city-level,more systematic and appropriate data collection. including repeat studies at regular intervals for © Marco Dormin/UN photo 17
  17. 17. trends and head counts by teams of social workers to children’s experiences and a systemic approachusing triangulation and peer review. to interventions and policy-making. In this respect, the Committee recommends that States develop a44. One main challenge for States has been comprehensive and coordinated system of datainvesting in research with children. This has collection, comprising disaggregated data so as tobeen tackled in the closely related field of child be able to identify discrimination and/or disparitieslabour, through inter-agency collaboration, for in the realization of rights. Without appropriateexample, the Understanding Children’s Work data collection, it is difficult to detect obstacles toresearch programme of ILO, UNICEF and the implementation or recognize progress achievedWorld Bank – suggesting that a similar route could in programmes or interventions in terms of rights-be developed with children in street situations. based outcomes for children. Children, as expertsChild labour data collection is supported by ILO’s on their own lives, should be enabled to participateStatistical Information and Monitoring Programme in data collection, as well as in the analysis andon Child Labour (SIMPOC), launched in 1998 with dissemination of research.contributions from donor countries to provide asolid information base for appropriate 47. Data collectedresearch should distinguishmethodologies children who haveon child labour. street connectionsSIMPOC assists within wider groupscountries with of surveyed children;data collection, be disaggregated byprovides sex, age and ethnicityguidance on how among salient Phototo process and characteristics; and assi/UNanalyse data, identify the type ofoffers a variety street connections © Logan Abof statistical tools, (independence,micro datasets drug use, survival,and survey reports gang membership,available online, forced labour) as well asand also produces other factors relevant to local contexts experiencedglobal and regional estimates of child labour by children. Research must be understood asregularly. encompassing all environments that affect street- connected children, including family and home,45. A second difficulty has been the lack neighbourhood, support interventions, institutions thatof policy leadership to implement systematic, persecute children with street connections, policiesdisaggregated data collection and information and systems that affect, include and/or target street-systems around children in street situations. There is connected children, national legislation and budgetsalso increasing interest in finding cost-effective ways designed to guarantee and enforce children’sto prevent violations of children’s rights and restore rights, as well as global institutions and interactionsrights to children – an interest to which civil society between countries.and the private sector are beginning to respondwith evidence-based studies. 48. Robust data collection is vital for identifying and assessing good practices. At the same time,46. Data collection, analysis and development criteria for good practice should be evidentof indicators are all essential to implementing and throughout data collection. For example, in theassessing the rights enshrined in the Convention best interests of the child, data about violations ofwith respect to children in street situations. children’s rights should be systematically collectedAn appropriate framework for data collection and analysed, using a holistic approach and child-concerning street-connected children should, then, centred research methods, while findings should bereflect a rights-based approach, a holistic approach used to fulfil street-connected children’s rights.18
  18. 18. VII. Children’s voices connections to this work. In Ecuador, one boy reflected, “I started working when I was 5 years49. In resolution 16/12, the Council requested old and it was really difficult (...) I didn’t want tothat the study be conducted in collaboration with be on the streets, I didn’t like it, I wanted to be withchildren themselves. In order to bring children’s my family and to be in school, but we needed helpdiverse and distinctive views into the process, a financially and I knew it wasn’t supposed to be thatnumber of NGOs, members of the Consortium for way but if you don’t work, things just aren’t goingStreet Children that runs specialized interventions to fall out of the sky to feed you (...) I continue to dowith children connected to the street, were invited it because I like it and not just because we need theto facilitate children’s participation and gather money. It is something that I learned to do (...) and Itheir views about their circumstances, experiences don’t want to give up doing it just for the sake of it.”and aspirations. A total of 123 children in street 53. In general, children self-identified as strong,situations – 29 girls and 94 boys, aged between positive and engaged, able and willing to make5 and 18 – were consulted in Ecuador, India, positive contributions within wider society. TheyUganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco. This is a showed pride in helping others, being good citizensrelatively small number and no claims are made and supporting themselves and their families.to represent any other than the children consulted.The facilitating NGOs have long-standing expertise B. ACCESS TO SUPPORTin supporting street-connected children and strongchild protection policies; they used an agreed 54. In Ethiopia, another boy said, “the publicparticipatory methodology to ensure the children’s does not like to see us. They inform the police tomeaningful participation. Participation was restricted take us away”, and in Ecuador, one older street-to children who were already in regular contact with connected youth noted, “sometimes I felt rejectedthe NGOs, so that a level of trust had already been by other people, they didn’t want to be close to medeveloped between facilitators and the children. because they thought I would hurt them becauseThe consultation process included group discussion, they think that all people that work on the streetrole-play and drawing, instead of more conventional steal, murder and smoke drugs.”surveys or interviews. Consultation centred on three 55. Trust is a major issue. One street girl inoverarching themes: the child him or herself; their Morocco reflected, “I don’t tell anyone. For me, Iaccess to support; and access to their rights. get used to it, whatever troubles me. There is no one I can really trust so it just stays inside me, even if itA. THE CHILD AS AN INDIVIDUAL gets worse that way.”50. “It’s like this: You have to sacrifice things you 56. When asked what would help, childrenwant for your future, like study maybe, for the future in Uganda said they wanted someone “who willof your family. But if you ask me, I want to help always identify with them, approve of them, and isothers. If I am to be asked, what have you done able to help and guide them.” They also wished forwith your life, I want to say that I’ve helped others. “more time, patience and a listening ear.”The stuff you do, like giving to those who have been 57. In general, children said they relied largelydeprived of something, giving them some affection, on support from each other and the organizationsthings like that.” Boy in Morocco they come into contact with. They had little support51. In India, participants reflected that they felt from statutory services and often, but not always,proud to “always offer their services without any met with rejection from the public and the police.expectations to the weaker and desperate people,”while children in Ethiopia felt that they contribute C. ACCESS TO RIGHTSto society by showing loyalty, serving others andrespecting their elders. 58. In Morocco, facilitators observed ‘when the topic of rights was brought up the participants52. Many children expressed pride in being able either had little clue (noticed among the youngerto support themselves and their families through participants) or felt uncomfortable discussing thiswork on the street and had developed strong 19
  19. 19. topic, refraining from participating, not wanting family, neighbourhood and school. The street is ato get involved and moving on the next topic of central reference point for these children; it plays aconversation (noticed among the older participants)’. significant role in their everyday life and identity. If we value our children, we must invest in them.59. In India, in comparison, children Every child counts. Children in street situations havedemonstrated that they clearly understood their experienced great deprivation and rights violations.rights – to survival, protection, development and To support them in fulfilling their rights, investment inparticipation - while in Uganda and Ethiopia the strengthening children’s connections with family, the‘right to love’ (to be loved and cared for, and community and wider society is required.belong to a family) was mentioned by severalparticipants. 64. An important first step to ensuring this support is to ratify the Convention on the Rights of60. When asked if they had ever reported any the Child. States that have not yet done so should,violations of their rights, one child in Uganda as a matter of priority, ratify the Convention andresponded: “No, because before I came here I did its optional protocols. They should also ratifynot know my rights”. In India, a child reflected that ILO’s Convention No. 182 (1999) concerning the‘their reports are not taken seriously because they Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Eliminationare children and don’t understand anything’. of the Worst Forms of Child Labour and Convention61. In general, children’s understanding of and No. 138 (1973) concerning Minimum Age foraccess to rights seemed to depend on local socio- Admission to Employment.cultural context and the use of rights-based support 65. Furthermore, the High Commissioner forby specialized interventions. Human Rights recommends that States develop comprehensive Child Protection Systems, comprisingVIII. Conclusions and relevant laws, policies, regulations and services across all social sectors, especially social welfare,recommendations education, health, security and justice, as an overarching strategy to safeguard all children, and62. It is not known how many children depend which promotes a holistic, rights-based approach.on the streets for their survival or development.Numbers fluctuate according to socio-economic, 66. In particular, States should:political and cultural conditions, including (a) Ensure responsibilities are clearly delegated,growing urbanization and inequalities, as well as roles are clearly defined and obligations areterminology and definitions used. What is known is met, so that children’s rights can be respectedthat diverse conditions and multiple rights violations and fulfilled. When obligations are not met andpush children into developing connections with violations occur, the State must be able to holdthe streets. Once there, children face a range of accountable those responsible and guaranteenew challenges, including hostile perceptions of children access to legal redress.them as delinquents, and many forms of violence. (b) Ensure secondary duty bearers have theNevertheless, this is a time of opportunity: States capacity to carry out their specific obligations.are developing or strengthening comprehensive This means developing capacity-building and/child protection systems; civil society organizations or training initiatives to strengthen the capacity ofare consolidating promising interventions; data law enforcement officers, judges, social workers,collection is more systematic; and research is teachers, doctors and others responsible forbecoming more participatory. protecting children’s rights.63. A new paradigm is emerging that (c) Guarantee adequate budget allocationsemphasizes relationships or “connections,” so that the CPS can safeguard children’s rights.building on the idea of street “situations,” and Budgetary information should be made public todrawing attention to choices children make as encourage research into costs and benefits, sothey develop relationships within the street, either as to help States to invest wisely in safeguardingalongside or instead of connections within the children’s rights.20
  20. 20. (d) Take a coordinated approach acrossall government departments, including thosewith responsibilities for finance, trade,employment, security, tourism, housingand urban planning, so as to ensurethat government policies are coherent inprotecting children’s rights.(e) Foster a collaborative approach inwhich the interests, inter-connections andexpertise of non-State actors – childrenand families, civil society, academia, theprivate sector, human rights institutionsand intergovernmental organizations –are recognized and brought togetherin partnerships that ensure children areafforded effective protection.67. As a minimum, States should © B. Irreensure that free, accessible, simple andexpeditious birth registration is availableto all children at all ages.68. The High Commissioner recommendsspecialized support for children in street situations. (b) Encourage and supportTo this end, States should promote and support city-level partnership-based specializedchild-centred, tailor-made interventions for children interventions, in which local civil societywhose connections to family, community and or community-led organizations (that arewider society have been weakened and who small and flexible, with local expertise inhave developed their own street-based coping street connectedness) manage specializedmechanisms. In line with a rights-based, holistic interventions, coordinated by local authoritiesapproach, specialized interventions should help (with the capacity to guarantee accesschildren to reconnect with family, local community to local services), supported by the Stateservices and wider society. This does not imply (through a national Child Protection System),that the child should renounce his or her street with the private sector (for capacity-buildingconnections, but rather, such intervention should resources and organizational skills) andguarantee that his or her rights are fulfilled. academia (for research capacity to enable evidence-based decision-making).69. In particular, States should: (c) Guarantee operational budgets for(a) Introduce laws requiring the design and specialized interventions and funding for implementation of municipal policies, with research to assess their cost-effectiveness. In adequate budgets, that are aimed at ensuring cases where States are unable, in the short- positive law enforcement, coordinating term, to provide the necessary resources, referrals and providing support for specialized the private sector and/or international interventions for children with street community might be approached to engage connections. These policies should be firmly as partners, to ensure that specialized linked to the national Child Protection System interventions, as delegated duty bearers, and be based on local multi-stakeholder have the means and capacity to fulfil the participation, including children themselves. rights of children who have developed connections to the street. 21
  21. 21. staff in schools; medical staff in health centres; social workers in welfare centres and specialized interventions. (b) Introduce and enforce sanctions against all perpetrators of violence against children in the streets. (c) Ensure that child- sensitive counselling, complaint and reporting ILO © M. Crozet/ mechanisms are easily accessible to street-connected children. 73. As a minimum, States should decriminalize survival behaviours such as begging, loitering, vagrancy, running away and other acts,(d) Commit to fulfilling human rights beyond and ensure that children with street-connections are childhood, if damaging effects of rights not forcibly rounded-up or treated like criminals or violations are not fully addressed by the delinquents for survival activities. age of 18, even though legal commitments 74. With regard to good practices, the High specific to children may end. Commissioner recommends that States engage70. As a minimum, States should address consultations on criteria for good practices withstigmatization and discrimination of children in the street-connected children, so as to be able tostreets, including through public sensitization to the identify and implement good practices aimed atexperiences and rights of street-connected children. improving support for fulfilling the rights of street-71. In order to address violence, the High connected children.Commissioner recommends that States seek to 75. In particular, States should propose andensure the prevention and prohibition of all forms lead, in partnership with the United Nations, civilof violence against children in street situations, and society and the private sector, national, sub-regionalin this regard, implement the recommendations of and regional multi-stakeholder forums that includeinternational mechanisms, including the Secretary- children, youth and local community representativesGeneral’s Study on Violence against Children, the to discuss and agree criteria for good practices andSpecial Representative of the Secretary-General on to develop indicators and mechanisms to identifyviolence against children and the Committee on the and share good practices.Rights of the Child. 76. The High Commissioner for Human72. In particular, States should: Rights recommends that States develop systemic(a) Ensure full training on non-violent mechanisms to collect data and share information engagement and respect for the right of about children in street situations. States should children in street situations to freedom from aim to develop a comprehensive and coordinated violence for, inter alia, law enforcement system of data collection about children, with officers; judges and all staff in the justice and disaggregated data so as to be able to identify penal systems; teaching and administrative discrimination and/or disparities in the realization22
  22. 22. of rights, as recommended by the Committee on disaggregate data wherever available, in orderthe Rights of the Child. Such system should enable to be able to identify and analyse informationthe identification of children in street situations by gathered about children in street situations.circumstances, connections, characteristics and 79. In addition, the High Commissioner addressesexperiences, in order to design strategies, policies the following recommendations to international humanand programmes, detect obstacles to and recognize rights mechanisms, and in particular:progress in their implementation, through gatheringevidence. This means collecting qualitative as well (a) Invites the Committee on the Rights of theas quantitative data, and ensuring that children, as Child to develop a general comment onexperts on their own lives, participate in information “non-discrimination and children in streetgathering, analysis and dissemination of research. situations,” so as to provide more detailed guidance to States party to the Convention77. In particular, States should: on using a holistic, rights-based approach to(a) Invest in national data collection and support children in street situations. information sharing about children with street (b) Encourages the universal periodic review connections, in partnership with civil society, to take into consideration and address the the private sector and academia. situation of children living and/or working on(b) Approach intergovernmental agencies to the street in the relevant documentation for propose the development of an international the review, as well as during the interactive coordinating mechanism for knowledge dialogue and in recommendations, whenever sharing, as well as methodologies and tools appropriate. to support States in collecting, analysing (c) Invites special procedure mandate holders and sharing data about children in street to pay particular attention to the situation of situations. street-connected children during their country(c) Encourage and support participatory visits. research with street-connected children and families to inform policy-making and design of specialized interventions.78. As a minimum, States shouldassess the coverage of childrenin street situations withingeneral data collectionrelevant to children’srights, addressthe challenges asnecessary, and © Eskinder Debebe/UN Photo 23
  23. 23. AnnexFindings fromConsultations with ChildrenChildren’s Voices Paper1:“Nothing about us, without us”2I n order to bring the voices of children into the already in regular contact with the NGOs, so that a study, the Office of the High Commissioner level of trust had already been developed between for Human Rights invited several NGOs3, all facilitators and the children. The consultationmembers of the Consortium for Street Children4, to process included group discussion, role-play andfacilitate children’s participation and gather their drawing, instead of more conventional surveysviews about their circumstances, experiences and or interviews. Consultation centred on threeaspirations. As mentioned in par. 49 of the report overarching themes: the child him or herself; theirto the Human Rights Council a total of 123 children access to support; and access to their rights.in street situations – 29 girls and 94 boys, agedbetween 5 and 18 – were consulted in Ecuador,Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Morocco and Uganda. 1. The Child as IndividualTheir participation took place between October andNovember 2011. This is a relatively small number This first section of the participatory methodologyand no claims are made to represent any other than aimed to explore the potential, agency, strength andthe children consulted. A participatory methodology positive contributions street connected children canwas designed to help facilitate information offer wider society, and the support they feel theygathering5. The facilitating NGOs have long- need to realise their full potential. In this section thestanding expertise in supporting street-connected selected NGOs mainly relied on group discussionschildren and strong child protection policies; they with the children, supplemented by drawings andused an agreed participatory methodology to role play. In Ecuador the NGO used one to oneensure the children’s meaningful participation. interviews. The participation around this themeParticipation was restricted to children who were centred on the following questions:1 Anne Louise Meincke, Advocacy Director, Consortium for Street 4 The Consortium for Street Children (CSC) is the leading Children, international network dedicated to realising the rights of www.streetchildren.org.uk street children. With over 60 members in over 130 countries,2 Quote by former UK girl in street situation in conjunction with CSC is committed to creating a better future for some of the the International Day for Street Children, 12th April 2011 most disadvantaged children by working together to share3 Participating NGOs were: Action for Children in Conflict knowledge, conduct research, influence policy and take action. (www.actionchildren.org), Kenya; CHETNA (www.chetna-india. We are Louder Together. http://www.streetchildren.org.uk/ org) and Hope for Children (www.hope-for-children.org), India; 5 For further information about the participatory methodology Juconi (www.juconi.org.ec) Ecuador; Moroccan Children’s Trust used see the Children’s Voices paper at OHCHR’s web page: (www.moroccanchildrenstrust.org), and Retrak (www.retrak. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Children/Study/Pages/ org), Ethiopia and Uganda. ExpertConsultation.aspx24
  24. 24. • Who inspires you and why? When a 16 year old boy in Ecuador was asked if he had someone who inspired him to move forward• What about yourself are you most proud of, and he answered “Not a single person. I am able to why? move forward because of myself and my own• What are your strengths? What needs to be in actions and because God is always with me and he place for you to use these more? wishes the best for me”. When asked if he saw God• How do you currently contribute to society (e.g. as an inspiration he said “Yes, because he is the the work you do, helping others etc.)? What only person who I trust, he is the only person who support do you need to contribute even more? can tell me if I am doing things well or badly”.• What are your hopes for the future? Who do you see supporting you to make those hopes a reality?WHO INSPIRES YOU AND WHY?In India facilitators noted that most children said theywere inspired by teachers, their parents and NGOworkers, because ‘they teach them, help them andshow them the right path in life’, and that thechildren themselves wanted to ‘do something intheir community, but don’t have the sufficientamount of scope to make their desirescomplete’.For older street boys In Uganda, celebritystatus and commercial success playedsignificant roles. Musicians wereinspirational because they ‘dress in funnystyles, make their hair with dreadlocks,put on shades’, and ‘all musicians aresuccessful and are celebrities in their ownway’, whilst business people ‘have a lotof money and live luxury lives’. Similarly,street connected boys in Kenya said thatthey were inspired by ‘politicians andbusiness people who are successful’. © Marcus Lyon 25
  25. 25. AnnexA group of younger children in Uganda said that a I managed to sell anything or not because I knewteacher and cook at their residential NGO facility I would have to go out the next day to sell again.were considered inspirational because the teacher But after a little while I learned a bit more about‘spend most of his time with them and labours to being on the street and I made some friends andexplain and guide one in every possible way on they taught me how to sell and stuck with me onquestions asked in class’ and the cook because he the street. To start with they asked me what were‘gives adequate food to every child’. my dreams and why I was on the streets and I said I didn’t want to be on the streets, I didn’t like it, IWHAT ABOUT YOURSELF ARE YOU MOST PROUD wanted to be with my family and to be in schoolOF, AND WHY? but we needed help financially and I knew it wasn’t supposed to be that way but if you don’t work,Many of the children reflected that they were proud things just aren’t going to fall out of the sky to feedto help others. For example, in India children had you. I continue to do it because I like it and not justexpressed pride in being able to ‘always offer their because we need the money. It is something that Iservices without any expectations to the weaker learned to do (...) and I like it a lot and I don’t wantand desperate people’. In Uganda an older street to give up doing it just for the sake of it”.connected boy said that he was proud of himselfbecause “I have passion for others”, while a boy Children in India also highlighted work asin Morocco said “I would say that I help people, if something they felt proud of: ‘being strong enoughsomeone needs something done or a favour I would to do work, and not afraid of doing challengingdo it for them. Like to send me to buy something or or hard work. They feel proud to earn a livelihoodto take care of my brother I never say no”. for their family’. Both boys and girls in Morocco agreed that work within the household could be aMany children expressed pride in being able source of pride. One boy said: “It’s not just workingto support themselves and their families through outside, it’s also taking care of siblings. Like in mywork on the street, and have developed strong family we are seven, we’re like a football team!connections to their work. A boy in Ecuador And I’m the oldest so I have to look after my sistersreflected: “I started working when I was 5 years especially”.old and it was really difficult. I didn’t know howto sell anything but I had to stay positive whether Box 1: Drawing – ‘Street’ 1 (Uganda) Children in Uganda were encouraged, as part of their group discussions, to draw pictures of key issues affecting them. One boy drew the picture below and added “I was smoking on the street and influenced by my friends”.26