On the Street
Most weeks our local staff spend an evening on the streets, building relationship with the street children and equipping them to keep themselves safe. Our female social worker, Lillian, dresses as a man for the occasion to avoid unwanted attention. From time to time our team sleep a night alongside the children, on hard concrete pavements with just a cardboard box or two for padding.
Girls as young as 12 are working the streets and boys are stealing and dealing.
The most vulnerable children come to live in our safe home. Those who we can’t accommodate sleep in bus shelters and under parked cars. Some of the older street children rent houses to sleep in, but the financial demand of this forces them to look for money in all the wrong places. Girls as young as 12 are working the streets and boys are stealing and dealing.
Our staff talk to the children about safe and legal ways to make money for food and medical care. We teach them about child traffickers and that they need to be wary when offered jobs abroad. We work with the children to form exit strategies; some children have a family home which they will return to if encouraged to do so.
Possibly the biggest impact on the street is made by our staff simply loving the children. Unconditional acceptance and support goes a long way in building the esteem of a child who is all alone. Our staff walk beside children who are battling drug addictions, those who have suffered abuse and exploitation, and those whose own families didn’t want them.
Possibly the biggest impact on the street is made by our staff simply loving the children.
There are around 300 street children in Aura, a city of just 65,000 people. Lots of new children arrive on the street each month but many also disappear. Children are trafficked from the streets to Congo or Europe. Some are locally exploited, like our girl Stella who was used for free, under-age labour in exchange for small portions of food.
Can you help us keep these children safe? Click here to donate.
Hope Street social worker, Lillian, dressed as a man while on the street.