The world according to street children


Street-Kids-Mongolia-2-634x397

 

 

Children often dream about a perfect world. A realm of existence where they are free of constraints in achieving their dreams. Idealists often talk about harnessing universal equality that encompasses all the world’s individuals, either poor or rich. Popular figures often generate all-positive pep-talks, about ‘a better world that is soon to come’.

All this is not until the reality, the medium that constitutes this world of absurd enormities, holds their eyes up.

Troubles, hardships, difficulties, all these words have never disappeared even in such increasingly sophisticated – and often in incomprehensible ways – world, and will never be altered throughout the existence of this cosmos. Among a multitude of problems, and new hodge-podge of troubles generated, an issue that has long yet to be resolved is the chronic presence of street children around the world.

No matter how exponentially rich the civilization is ending up, the abundance of street children poses a harbinger to every respective nation. Ignored after by the societies, detached from their supposedly nurturing loved ones – parents, families, educators, they are living in an absurd, unprincipled world, where wrong is hardly differentiated from right, where evil is barely separated with kind, and where all worst-case possibilities may subsequently happen.

And we all realize that every nation that fails to pay attention to the concerns of the generations often puts itself at great stake.

Ben Faccini, a novelist, attempts to make a comprehensive coverage of street children across the world, from bustling streets in Cairo to potholed roads in Ulaan Baatar. View the full essay here.

 

One excerpt from Faccini’s essay:

The phrase ‘street children’ is a much-used catch-all term for heterogeneous groups of children. Some live solely on the street, sleeping rough, finding shelter where best they can. Some spend their days in public spaces before returning to a family or a similar support structure in the evening. Others still live with their families on the streets. Overall figures don’t necessarily allow for these distinctions. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates there are currently more than 100 million street children worldwide — an estimate that is often quoted, with all categories of street child included. But it is those children who live solely on the street, away from a consistent adult presence of any kind, who are perhaps the most emblematic of the phenomenon. Research shows that these children leave, or are forced to flee, their homes for many reasons. Family breakdown and the death or illness of a parent are prime factors but, equally, natural disaster, conflict and abuse play their part.

While escaping to the streets is often a child’s only solution, the street provides an ephemeral freedom. It becomes mother, father, school and home. Survival rates are unsurprisingly low. Once on the street, a child can quickly get sucked into a life of violence and sexual exploitation, trafficking and substance abuse. Their existence is overshadowed by the urgent need to find a safe place to sleep and shelter. Those who do survive become forever alienated from mainstream society — and all the more menacing to it as they grow older.

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