CHILDREN OF GOD

Uganda has one of the largest populations of young people in the world with over 56 % of the population under the age of 18. Children are the single largest group living in poverty. Many of them live not only in poverty but also without parents or any other adult guardian. 
Only in Kampala, there are more than 10 000 children living on the streets. According to many organizations, the number is increasing. Most of them live in slums which become safe heaven for less privileged individuals. They also form peer groups with other street children as a defence mechanism. 

To get money for food, they work in the building's demolition, unloading trucks or helping to sell food. Youngest children work collecting plastic bottles or metal scrap. For one kilo of bottles they can earn 200 shillings ( 0,05 $)
Street children often lack access to clean water, food, medical attention, shelter, education and protection. They are exposed to the all forms of explotation and abuse. They live with constant fear and uncertainty. Many children are exposed to violence, rape, beatings, drugs, being robbed or being arrested. The big problem is the police, who instead of helping and protecting, attacks children unreasonably, beats them and asks for the bribe. In many cases, such a child ends up in a jail or remand house where he stays even for 2 months without any charges or being taken to the court. In addition to many dangers, children live in eternal suspension, idleness that can last for years without any hope for change.Without education and any skills they will become unemployed adults with addictions and incurable diseases whose children will repeat their fate.

Street children are not a problem itself but they are a result. To find the solution it’s needed to know the reasons.
They are the casualities of poverty, loss of parents due to disease, HIV, war, loss of traditional values, domestic violence, physical and mental abuse. 
In most cases children are on the street because they ran out of the homes. Being beaten by frustrated parents, life on the street seems easier. Children are beaten for the smallest offense and it is a daily rule. Young women who become mothers at an early age are not taught how to raise children and because they themselves were beaten, the same methods apply to their children. There is no education for adults that supports good family values. Because of unemployment, many men drink and sexually abuse their daughters. Most of those cases never are reported to the police or to the court. No one is penalized for violating children's rights because children never report violence against them because they don’t know that they can.

The Ugandan government has adopted domestic child protection legislation like Children Act and laws prohibiting child labor and created multiple programs and policies to help street children, but failed to meet obligations to protect chilren on the street from the abuse. The main aim of the government is to resettle and rehabilitate street children without adressing the factors that sent children to the street and in the long run this is a unsustainable solution. If there are no protection policies implemented that will prevent children from escaping to the streets, the problem of street children will never be solved.

Street children tend to fall between various jurisdictions with neither providing real assistance. There is growig need for African countires to formulate and implement dynamic child development policies if they really want to deal with the problem of street children. Finding a solutions  is neither a quich nor a simple process. Flexibility, imagination, responsibility and commitment by the international players, non-governmental organization and local governments are needed. 
 This process will be long and maybe uncomfortable but children who have already suffered too much are too important to be cast aside simply because the solutions require hard work.

You may also like

Back to Top