People call them outcasts and throwaway kids. If you look carefully you can see them shivering in doorways or begging for scraps in a dirty alley. The number of them is shocking. At present, that number is estimated to be 40 million. Society discusses their plight in cold statistics and numerous casualty lists. Who are they? They are children; they are the innocents wandering among us; they are silent shadows and fading lights among us; they are more than hungry mouths and dirty rags; they are children alone, confused and homeless. They are tagged by society as nobody’s children.
People talk in hushed voices, concerned that these children will become outlaws, future criminals, a threat to their communities. Society views them as useless since they have no marketable skills. These are children without families or relatives, who fear being totally alone and therefore form gangs or relationships that last two or three months.
It is not easy to help a homeless child. Fear of authority figures prevents them from giving any information about their background. They stare and cower when questioned. Most hide the truth in a story, even changing their names. Some will tell you they are not homeless that the streets are their home Speaking in generalizations, the reasons why children become homeless, include marital breakdown and subsequent abandonment by one or both parents; a desire to be independent rather than live at home where they are beaten or sexually abused, neglected and forgotten. Some children are thrown out of the family home. Others are homeless because the parents are dead.
Children have a right to the necessities of life which includes being sheltered in a responsible home. They deserve protection, a chance to reach their potential. It is hard to ignore that children are sleeping in condemned buildings on beds of torn newspapers; spending their days, rain or shine, in prostitution and selling stolen items; living each day as if tomorrow will never come.
Governments are trying to help. Housing initiatives are being started each day. Poor families are being assisted but in many cases the adults must reunite. If mothers and fathers stay together and take parenting classes they are eligible for social programs and financial incentives. In some lands, governmental agents search the streets for those in need of help. If a child is discovered to be on its’ own, this child is taken to a children’s shelter where he/she will receive food and school. If the child is a teenager and living on their own, laws exist which allow this teen to work. in some cities you will find children shining shoes; packing groceries; delivering food; changing tires.
What is preventing this problem from being solved? Is it possible that this problem cannot be solved?
The UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child (there are 10 points) was intended for all children therefore homeless children are NOT throwaway kids; they are NOT nobody’s children; they are NOT outcasts of society.