Thando is one of Our Moon’s scholars. She recently conducted some research into the coping mechanisms of street children as her community based project. She concluded that there are many ways that street children do cope, but this is often just a front. She, therefore, wished to publicise her ideas of simple ways that the general public can intervene even if they are also from very poor circumstances. We all hope everyone will contribute to improve the lives of street children. Thando is one of Our Moon’s scholars. She recently conducted some research into the copying mechanisms of street children as her community based project. She concluded that there are many ways that street children do cope, but this is often just a front. She, therefore, wished to publicise her ideas of simple ways that the general public can intervene even if they are also from very poor circumstances. We all hope everyone will contribute to improve the lives of street children.
The street child phenomenon in Pamodzi comes as no surprise. From some recent research I carried out in the Pamodzi area, I have come to find that members of society feel the only way they can help street children is by giving them money. With this article, I hope to display how best I feel members of the community can help these vulnerable children – street children, without necessarily giving them money.
Public reaction towards the street child phenomenon is evidently poor. It was found in my research on street children that many community members do not know the significance of protecting the rights of children – of guiding children where necessary. Children are the future leaders of tomorrow and it is every adult’s moral duty to defend and protect vulnerable children whenever they get the chance.
The majority of the Pamodzi area population consists of the urban poor. Consequently, rendering help to street children financially simply would not be as realistic. However, I have come to realise other ways in which these vulnerable children, street children can be helped. The other ways include:
- Stopping or rather discouraging children from taking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and inhaling glue. What do I mean? I found that most children on the street stole the remaining alcohol left by drunkards at the local bars. The children would drink the empty bottles of beer and lagers. Responsible citizens, upon spotting a child taking in alcohol, should be able to stop the child rather than just walking away and acting ignorantly about the situation.
- Referring sick street to Arthur Davison Children’s Hospital. Many of these children suffer food poisoning, malnutrition, infected wounds, malaria, etc. As a member of the community, it is only right to at least refer a sick child to the hospital. Arthur Davison Hospital is not a fee-paying hospital therefore, escorting such a child to at least seek medical advice would be a good idea.
- It was observed that street children resorted to eating expired food offered to them by a local butchery at Villa Shopping complex. It is undeniable that these children get extremely hungry and need food in order to perform effectively on the streets. However, eating contaminated food should not be an option. Food poisoning, if not treated, is capable of causing death. Therefore, in as much as expired/contaminated food may be the only available food for these children at times, stopping them from eating it would be the right thing to do. Advising the child to boil drinking water and advising the child to stay away from expired foods is definitely a way of helping.
- Street Children, as was suggested in my research, are often emotionally disturbed. This means they feel sad and alone most of the time. Some street children have even tried hurting themselves – inflicting pain on their bodies. Sometimes all they wish for is for someone to talk to. They wish to have someone to listen to their struggle and just tell them all will be well in due time.
Acting as a listening ear towards a troubled street child would to a great extent help this street child. Most of these children are open and would gladly share their life experiences if asked to.Children are the world’s future and they all deserve to enjoy their rights to the fullest. I believe members of the Pamodzi community can help these children in the above stated ways. Help comes in so many ways. Even a simple hello can put a smile on a street child’s face.