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Life through the eyes of street children

Life through the eyes of street children

Today, we shine the light on those too often ignored, shunned and excluded by society – street children. Although the exact number of ‘invisible’ children around the world is impossible to quantify, it is likely to be in the tens of millions, with some estimates as high as 100 million.

To mark International Day for Street Children, we’re asking you to step into the lives of children around the world who rely on the streets for survival.

Our work focuses on protecting and supporting vulnerable children, and part of this includes facilitating access for street children to obtain birth certificates. Without this crucial piece of paper to show proof of age and identity, we know that children living on the streets are even more vulnerable to trafficking, child marriage, exploitation and often cannot access their right to an education or health services.

In Indonesia where more than 90 per cent of street children in Jakarta do not have a birth certificate, we’re helping them to obtain an identity. Together with Aviva, our ‘Birth Certificate for Street Children' Programme enables children and families to access birth registration services.

Meet children whose lives have been transformed with our support.

From the streets to the classroom

Streetchild in India

Ashraful knew what he wanted in life: an education. After leaving home for Dhaka, he soon found himself homeless in the Bangladeshi capital, where up to an estimated 1.1 million children live on the streets.

Everyone tried to exploit me – the police, older children, snatchers – everyone.

Ashraful

A Plan International-supported drop-in centre in Dhaka offered Ashraful safety and shelter. In time, with our support, Ashraful’s family moved to Dhaka so that they could all live together, without Ashraful’s education being compromised. 

Providing shelter and education

Street Child in Benin

We're working with the Don Bosco Foyer in Cotonou to provide shelter and education to children and young people living on the streets. Many have experienced violence, abuse, and/or child trafficking. The Don Bosco Foyer provides accelerated education and vocational training to help vulnerable children overcome a life on the streets and find a brighter future.

The power of a birth certificate

Street Child Ridwan

You may not think about your birth certificate very often – after all, it’s just a piece of paper that you may dig out every few years when renewing your passport. For children like Ridwan, living in Jakarta, it's a very different story.

If you ask me why this birth certificate is important, the answer is simple: my birth certificate gave me a second chance to go to school. I used to spend the days on the street, trying to help my mother her sell food. I would always look at other children in their school uniforms and long to be just like them.

Ridwan

School on wheels in India

Street Child India

India has the largest number of working and street children in the world. Working with our local, partner Door Step School, we’re also running the ‘School on Wheels’ project. Every school day, School on Wheels parks up at different locations in Mumbai, India, to hold non-formal education classes for children from the slum, helping to identify lone children in the slums and providing a unique way of learning to street children and pavement dwellers.

 

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