STREET CHILDREN

According to the estimated data of child workers in Nepal concerned center (CWIN) there are 5,000 to 6,000 street children in Nepal; Kathmandu alone has 1,500 to 2,000 of them. 70 percent or more of street children are boys. (Source: MYREPUBLICA, 2012). The distribution of street children is throughout the urbanized cities of the country. Their number exceed in Kathmandu and Pokhara comparatively to other cities of the country because of being tourist places. Many of the underprivileged and abandoned street children come from several remote parts of the country.

There are many causes that bring children on the street. Some common cause are family breakdown, poverty, urbanization and overcrowding, dislocation through migration, child labor, loss of family members, exploitation by adults, emotional abuse or neglect.

Street children are engaged in begging on the street, trash picking, pick pocketing, rag picking, working in bars, restaurants and tempo buses, even some children are engaged in prostitution. The life of street children is fearful and stressful, living on the street in contact with gangs and police and without access of basic needs like food, shelter clothes and medicine. Street children are most vulnerable to malnutrition, substances abuses and severe health problems. Some problems faced by the street children are physical, psychological and sexual exploitation by adults and other street children. There are different kinds of street children living on the streets. Some of them have been living on the streets for many years and indeed they have grown up on the streets. Some of them can be seen just recently on the street. There are also many children who can be seen on the streets during the day time only as they live with the families during the night time. The children who can be seen during the day time are the children at high risk because they are either hanging around in the streets due to family problem or children who are commercially exploited by their families with the intention to generate substantial income for the family to sustain daily livelihood. There are many street children who have their families living within the Kathmandu valley. But, there are also many street children who have migrated to the capital city of Nepal from different districts due to their family problems. Some of the core existing problems within the families are step parents, alcoholic families, daily domestic violence, and financial problems.

The survival of the street children is constantly at hazard, ill at ease and complicated on the street. Many street children are vulnerably living on the streets. There are many street children who are suffering without any care and support. Surprisingly, many street children have been able to survive on the streets by themselves.