Through-out the world hundreds of thousands of children and young people leave their homes for a number of reasons from ill health to abject poverty, or are simply abandoned by adults who are barely able to look after themselves let alone hungry children who may be too disadvantaged to help seek out an existence on the land. Many, too, have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS or have fled domestic violence. These street children are amongst the most disadvantaged in the world and are not only open to financial exploitation, but sexual abuse, kidnap and even death. In some countries they are rounded up and put in prison, charged with not having an adult to provide care for them. In other places they are trafficked and taken across borders to work in domestic servitude or as labourers on the land. All without papers. All without rights. UNICEF currently believes the number of street children across the world runs into tens of millions.
It is hard to imagine for many in the west, a life without any form of social safety net. There is no state provision for these children only non-government organisations who do what they can. If these children do not beg, steal or rob they would literally starve to death. They have no prospect of an education and so no prospect of a job or providing for any children they may have in the future. Unless people like yourself are prepared to help, these children will have no future. Below there are a selection of pages about street children in different parts of Africa which go into more details about the challenges and dangers these children face.
It is hard to get up to date statistics for street children, because, by their very nature they are elusive and different to collect data about. As such statistics for street children are often out of date, but they do show patterns. Here are some recent street children statistics:
A study in Ethiopia found that street children normally worked 2-3 hours a day on the streets both before and after school. Most children in Ethiopia start working the streets at around 10yrs old.
There are approximately one million children living on the streets of Cairo, although the impact of the recent revolution there is not yet known. 82% of these children cite abuse at home for their circumstances. 30% of these children reported that they took drugs to relieve pain, hunger and violence.
There are a reported third of a million children living on the streets of Kenya with girls often forced into prostitution earning just 30p for each client.
Over 95% of street children in Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria have been stigmatised as child witches and abandoned by their parents and forced to live on the streets.
In South Africa most street children are aged between 13-14yrs and state they end up on the streets because of family poverty, overcrowding, abuse, neglect, family disintegration and HIV/AIDS.
Street children in Africa, like all children on the continent, are technically protected by the provisions of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, also known as ACRWC or the Children's Charter. It came into force in 1999 and amongst its provisions is Article 25 which states "Any child who is permanently or temporarily deprived of his family environment for any reason shall be entitled to special protection and assistance." It also guarantees all children the inherent right to life, education and health and the right to be protected from all forms of economic exploitation.
A short video documentary about street children in Angola and the daily challenges they face.
Pictures and images of street children with facts and figures in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Information about the growing crisis
of street children in Egypt escaping poverty and violence.
A short video exploring the dangers faced by street kids in Malawi recognised as a growing problem.
More children are turning to the streets in a fragmented and complex Mali in west Africa.
Information about street children in Uganda together with details of the Raising Up Hope for Uganda project.
A video documentary and article about the growing problem of street children in Zambia.
List your child sponsor in Africa project here for free by filling out this quick form and get listed!
Sponsor a child listings by country together with details of children's lives there.
FIn dout more across children in need across the world and what you can do to help their lives.
All the latest news about children in Africa, their circumstances, children's right developments and legal issues.
Sponsor an African child for less than the cost of a daily newspaper with our child sponsor programs.
Mainly African, we also extend our listings to other children in need who live in Haiti, Yemen and Gaza.
Get your child sponsor programs listed in this online sponsor an African child directory for free!