Topics: Street children, Poverty, Orphan Pages: 8 (3077 words) Published: January 15, 2014
A great deal has been written defining street children, but the primary difficulty is that there are no precise categories, but rather a continuum, ranging from children who spend some time in the streets and sleep in a house with ill-prepared adults, to those who live entirely in the streets and have no adult supervision or care. The intent of this paper is to provide an overview of street kidism as an emerging issue. To achieve the above objective; the paper will set out to define the concept street kid, give a brief history, the causes ,effects, stakeholder interventions (Government and Non-governmental organizations-NGO’s), challenges met, the achievements scored and further give recommendations. The definition of ‘street children’ is contested, but many practitioners and policy makers use United Nations International Children Fund’s (UNICEF) concept of boys and girls aged under 18 for whom ‘the street’ has become home or their source of livelihood, and who are inadequately protected and supervised (UNICEF, 1985). UNICEF further combines the two categories and says, “Street children” is a term often used to describe both children who work in the streets and markets of cities selling or begging and live with their families and those homeless street children who work, live and sleep in the streets, often lacking any contact with their families. According to the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, a street child is any person aged less than 21 years who spends time, day, or night on the street to earn a livelihood or for material gain. Street children live in junk boxes, parts, or on the street itself. HISTORY OF STREET KIDISM IN ZAMBIA

Street Kidism is not a new or modern phenomenon. Orphaned and abandoned children have been a source of misery from the earliest times. Street kidism in Zambia has been there even before independence but it became pronounced only in 1992 after the Movement for Multi Party Democracy (MMD) came to power. The loss of jobs consequent to the economic policies of privatization led to urban unemployment, diseases, and crime. Thus we may infer that, the main deciding factor of child delinquency in Zambia originates from the economic policies of privatization and not otherwise.

The causes of Street kidism falls into two categories namely push and pull factors. Mtonga (1999) points out that push factors are those harsh environments which drive children away to the streets; orphanhood, hunger and many others. Pull factors are those factors that draw children from homes to streets. These include peer pressure, free money and freedom, to mention but a few. Mtonga further points on that, for the street children, city streets is a source of easy money. They don’t have to sweat, no body to harass them and life is without one bothering about tomorrow. Other causes of street kidism that fall from the two categories include the following; Poverty levels appear to be one of the most popular causes of street children. Some families are poor and fail to take care of their own children. The high poverty levels have resulted in an increase in the number of children on the streets. The children in poverty stricken homes are denied chance from enjoying their basic rights such as good education, quality health care and protection from abuse, (Hecht, 1998). This situation forces a lot of children to resort to running into the streets where they can at least have food. Inability of poor families to provide basic needs like food, to all their children also is another cause of street kidism. YAZ (2000:06), states that, “Children experiencing neglect, domestic violence or sexual abuse by parents and guardians may also take to the streets to get away from this situation.” They may run away completely, or at least seek to maximize the time they spend away from the house. In Zambia, an increasingly common cause of street kidism is HIV/AIDS. When the...
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