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March 8, 2011 | 6:12 pm

Chitwan street children

Louder Together is a campaign to give a louder voice to the millions of street children all around the world. Governments need to listen. We want to help make this happen. We must give street children a voice. Together we are louder and have more impact so we are asking everyone to Raise your Voices for Street Children

Our Sansar would like to take this day as an opportunity to educate and raise awareness for street children, as it’s something that so many of us know so little about.

In 1989, UNICEF estimated 100 million children were growing up on urban streets around the world. 14 years later UNICEF reported: ‘The latest estimates put the numbers of these children as high as 100 million’. And even more recently: ‘The exact number of street children is impossible to quantify, but the figure almost certainly runs into tens of millions across the world. It is likely that the numbers are increasing’.

Street Children are hard to track and this makes it very hard to get exact figures, but we do know that there are far, far too many of these children and their rights are not being realised. Our Sansar will be providing a home to Street Children in the Chitwan area of Nepal, it is estimated that there are approx 200 street children in this area alone with very little support available to them.

What can we do?

You can provide shelter to these children but that alone is not enough. There are a variety of issues to consider if you truly want to help these children and a roof is just the beginning. Children are attracted to the streets for a variety of reasons, sometimes there is abuse in the family, or too many siblings mean they just cannot support the entire family, often it is thought that the children will have better opportunities in the city. It’s common that children come to the streets of the city in the premise that they will earn good money and have a better future; sadly this is far from the truth. Once these children arrive in what they believed to be a world of opportunity, they often fall victim to abuse, begging and drugs and many resort to petty theft and prostitution for survival. With children as young as 3 years old on the streets of Nepal this is a horrific thought. After some time in such an environment these children will need the help of social workers and psychologists to allow them to deal with their problems.

The most positive outcome is to get these children back to their families, where they can learn how to have healthy relationships, a world away from the hierarchy of the gangs on the streets. Our Sansar will provide the support of social workers and psychologists in order to help these children re-integrate with society.

Of course another very important element to consider is the education of these children. Many have been out of the educational system a long time, if they’ve ever been a part of it. As part of our home for street children we will ensure the children have the opportunity to gain an education, providing skills training alongside this will encourage these children to see options away from the money they make on the streets.

What can you do?
Chitwan children of Nepal

There are many ways you can help street children, simply sharing this article with friends, family and colleagues is a start to spreading awareness. You can donate towards the cost of our children’s home project here on our website or via the Big Give website.

If you feel like doing something more, then why not do some fundraising on the International day for Street Children? We have a pack full of ideas and would be happy to share it with you and support you along the way. You can do all sorts of things to raise awareness and money – how about getting your office to don jeans or hats for the day for a small donation, or having a cake bake sale at your local school? If you’d like some help and a fundraising pack, please send an email to rikki@oursansar.org , I’d be happy to help!

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