Today is the International Day for Street Children, hosted by the international network Consortium for Street Children. Events are taking place all over the world, across 34 countries, to raise awareness of the issue.
This is the second event of this kind to take place; the first was in 2011. The Consortium for Street Children is using this day to give a voice to thousands of street children to speak out for their rights. The day is entitled ‘Challenging Perceptions’ and the charity aims to debunk common myths about street children that permeate society.
The existence of street children is an international concern. Children are at risk and reliant on the streets to survive in developed countries as well as developing countries. Issues of poverty, family breakdown, abuse and violence lead to children running to the streets in many cities. From São Paulo to London and Bucharest to Phuket the situations that create street children are similar. Street children deserve love, an education and safety from abuse just like any other child.
However, government policies across the globe often do not realise the rights of street children and they are seen as delinquents who should not be helped by society. The International Day wants to change this through encouraging awareness that street children have rights, and that this is not the way the world should be.
The Consortium for Street Children believes every street child has potential. They are urging governments and society to understand the reasons for the existence of street children and aim to support street children. not to treat them as criminals; taking preventative measures against the key issues that continue to create street children in the first place.
The International Day for Street Children is sponsored by Aviva’s Street to School campaign. It has also gained support from UN representatives and celebrities like Danny Boyle (director of Slumdog Millionaire) and the footballer Steven Gerrard.
A host of charities dedicated to helping vulnerable children are supporting the day and working within the UK, Africa, Europe, South and North America and Asia Pacific. It is great to see the level of support and media interest that this day has already generated. Anyone can get involved in a small way, whether it is signing a pledge, donating to a charity or changing your Facebook profile picture to raise awareness.
This event is important because street children do have rights just like any other child, and they are all worthy of our attention and time.
To read more about what is happening today and challenge your perceptions of street children check out their website at http://www.streetchildrenday.org/.
Published at The National Student – 11th April 2012