One Simple Thing to Do on the International Day for Street Children
Around the world there are countless children who call the streets their home. In Jakarta alone, the figures vary depending on who you listen to. In 1999 it was reported that there were 20 000 in Jakarta. The Social Services Ministry estimate 4 000 street kids in 2011 but the National Commission for Child Protection said 8 000. There are estimates that say it is more like12 000.
In reality, you won’t get an accurate figure. It’s not like you can reliably count moving objects when you don’t know where to find them all.
The numbers are only numbers; they indicate the size of the problem. If it is one child or 20 000 children what really matters is that someone notices and something is being done about it. Indonesia has pledged to take its children off the streets by 2016 under its Millennium Development goals.
Children have rights – the right to an adequate standard of living which includes a balanced diet and a warm, clean bed, health care and a roof over their heads every night. They have the right to learn and play, to have access to education and safe havens for recreational activities. They have the right to be free from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination. These are some of the basics rights but as anonymous said ‘mankind owes to the child the best it has to give’ not just the basics.
Street children have many connections to the street – some live on the street, some work on the street. Some street children still have family that they live with whereas others break all contact. There are a variety of reasons why but most can be traced to poverty and abuse.
Unofficially, International Day for street children is celebrated on 12 April each year and has been since 2010. This day provides an opportunity for the street children and those who champion for their rights to speak out.
Be a champion by demanding an internationally recognized day sanctioned by the United Nations. Go to http://www.streetchildrenday.org/ to lend your support.