TROUBLED BOYS ARE PROTECTED AND SUPPORTED THANKS TO YOUR DONATIONS
We would like to tell about three of the boys we have been working recently. Three boys from very different backgrounds, but three boys whose lives will illustrate where so many of our kids are at.
It is not always appropriate to share on social media the type of work we do; due to the sensitive nature of the situations we work with every week. But this blog, from Duncan Dyason MBE, might help you understand our day-to-day work and the situations we are pleased to help with thanks to your support.
The new Radio Christmas app has been released and another relese is due soon and will include extra festive music streams.
Take Radio Christmas with you wherever you go.
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This year Radio Christmas will be run from multiple locations around the world.
The challenge this will be to UNITE THE WORLD by trying to involve and engage with as many people from as many countries as possible during the month of December.
Our main studios will be in Amersham, UK, Guatemala City, Guatemala and Tegucigalpa, Honduras. There are plans to have people in the USA, Germany, Denmark, Frank and Switzerland participate in a varied selection of festive programmes.
The Guatemala studio will be a purpose-built studio that will operate all year long, thanks to the generous support of Darold & Pam Opp who have dedicated the studio to their grandchildren.
This past week the new radio equipment was delivered and will be fitted into the studio in Guatemala City as soon as builders complete the actual build of the studio in the new mentoring centre for disadvantaged and vulnerable youth.
Why not be part of the fun this Christmas and join us in uniting the world and offering hope at a time of a global pandemic?
Who are street children?
Street children are defined by different organisations as children who live on the streets, children who work on the streets and children who spend the majority of their time on the streets. The children who live on the streets have either been forced to leave their home, a children's home or have made their own decision to live on the streets rather than at home. Sadly, some children are born on the streets and grow up knowing the street as their only home. Street Kids Direct identify any child or young person under the age of 18 years who sleeps regularly on the street, as a street child. There are also many more children at 'high risk' of becoming street children and these include children who work on the streets, children begging on the streets and children who spend most of their time on the streets because of their family situation or culture.
How many are there?
The truth is, nobody knows. Because street children are often changing location or are continually on the move, making an estimate based upon the experiences of local organisations that work with the children is the most reliable guide. Global estimates suggest that between 30 to 150 million children and young people live on the streets of the major cities and towns in the world. It is suggested that the numbers of street children increase or decrease depending upon local conditions. For example, prior to the 1991 Gulf War, there were no reported street children in Iraq; with the ongoing conflict, UNICEF is alarmed by the growing numbers of orphans on the streets ( UNICEF press release, 13 June 2003).
Do they have families?
Nearly all street children have some form of contact with a family member. Sadly, most children don’t maintain any contact with their family because of the circumstances that pushed them onto the streets in the first place. Poverty, physical abuse and sexual abuse, are the three main reasons street children give as to why they have ended up living on the streets. Predominantly, boys claim to have been physically abused whilst girls claim to have been sexually abused before leaving home. Sometimes the pressure of poverty, together with social vulnerability and exclusion, increase the likelihood of young children joining the population of street children worldwide.
Does gender matter?
Many projects working with street children contend that the ratio of boys to girls on the streets is in favour of boys. The exact percentage is often difficult to estimate, as one country or even city can be different from another. The experience that Duncan Dyason has had working with street children in Guatemala has shown that about 20-30% of children and young people living on the streets are girls. The girls are more likely to be sexually exploited than boys and sometimes are less visible than boys on the streets.
Is street life dangerous?
Once a child begins to live on the streets, they very soon realise that life is short, violent and perpetuated by crime. In Latin America the problem is particularly acute with the worst offenders being Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras. The average life expectancy of a street child is just four years. Some organisations have spent years highlighting the torture and killing of street children. Ask any group of street children about violence and they will tell you story after story of children who are regularly beaten by police or security guards, together with those who have lost their lives in fights, petty crime, traffic accidents or have been killed by vigilante groups and death squads.
How do they live?
Reports from those working with street children illustrate the fact that the vast majority (83%) said they stole in order to live. Over a third said they engaged in prostitution and, of that third, 80% were girls. The rest claimed that begging, selling sweets or singing on buses gave them enough income to buy food and drugs. (see Tierney, N., 1997, Robbed of Humanity, USA, Pangaea) Street children are easily observed in cities wearing dirty clothes, ripped or no shoes, and have lice-infested hair and dirty skin. Often they are seen in groups, as being part of a group offers protection as well as company. The abuse of solvents and other drugs is prevalent in the street child population, with the cheapest form of drug being the most commonly used. For example, in Guatemala, street children abuse clinical alcohol which is poured into a rag and then inhaled. Previously street children in Guatemala abused the potent shoe glue, which was poured into small plastic bags or containers and then inhaled. According to the children, the drugs help them forget the pain of street life, take away hunger pains and keep them warm. The truth is that drug abuse destroys the nervous system and has led to many deaths. But despite this, street children abuse drugs and solvents on a daily basis.
Thanks to your support two young children are rescued from danger and placed in a loving home. See how your donations really do impact lives and support the street team in their daily work in Guatemala City.
Thanks to your support many children´s lives have been impacted by your donations this past Christmas, like the family of Doña Olivia, Marcos and Jesus. Watch their story and see, along with our other videos, how your donation really makes a difference.