Street children in Africa – possible ways to get them off the streets by Meimuna Labaran Mimi

The writer, Memuna Labaran Mimi

Street children are poor or homeless children who live on the streets of a city, town, or village in countries that have failed their future generations.

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In most African countries, some children are found gallivanting on streets selling, pickpocketing, begging for money, stealing, assaulting and bullying their fellow kids because they are weak. This is a very bad lifestyle that no country should ever sit back and do nothing while the future leaders of its country encounter such predicament. Most at times, some of these kids are forced to be on the streets as a result of maltreatment from home, some stay with distant cousins far from their own parents so it makes it easy for whoever it is they stay with to treat them badly and poorly and no one can do anything about it.

But guess what, I think it’s not fair for the government and authorities of countries to sit down and just watch and allow these kids on the street. There are a lot of things African governments can do to stop these kids from being on the streets and protect their lives and make their futures bright.

First and foremost, governments should create free educational facilities in order to help boost these children’s morale to go to school instead of roaming the streets knowing that the school they will be attending is going to be free; “totally free”. When I say totally free, I mean free food, water, tuition, books, uniform, etc. I say this because, some of the children that stay with their step mums, aunties, uncles etc. are not even given food to eat or water to drink. And these are the reasons why some of the street children steal or pickpocket because they must feed themselves no matter what; “hunger is a painful thing”.

Secondly, I also think that government should provide these street kids with some shelter. I believe this is not something so difficult that a whole government of a country can’t do. Some of these children are on the street because they do not have anywhere to go. So, if shelter is provided for them, it will help reduce the population of kids who are on the streets basically because they do not have anywhere to go. Street kids here in Africa are so much that the governments might think that providing shelter for them all is going to be a huge and expensive task. YES, it is not going to be easy, but the children are the country’s future leaders and they are citizens after all. So, taking care of them when there is no one brave enough to stand up for them is the right thing to do.

Again, the governments of countries with such children roaming the streets when their fellow children are in class or school learning should pass a law that will bind parents to take responsibility for their offsprings. There are lots of ways to scare children off the street once they know that they have shelter and they have schools to attend which is something better for their life than roaming about on streets.

 It’s true most of these kids are stubborn, but they are like that because they think it’s the only way to survive on the streets. “I spoke to about three (3) of those kids recently and their conversation all pointed out to me that, when you are weak, you do not survive long on those streets”. I believe another word I can use for these poor kids’ predicament is that they hustle a lot and so they see themselves as “HUSTLERS” which shouldn’t be so. They are our future and we must let them see that. Let us, the citizens and the government show these children that they are not alone and that we care so much for them.

We can do this in so many ways, but I strongly believe that the best way to get through to these kids is to assign someone to go talk to them, like the journalist a “female journalist” or personnel from departments responsible for social and children’s wellbeing. The journalist is sharing their feelings, listen to their stories, why they are on the streets, be honest and kind to them, promise them everything is going to be better. The reason why I chose a female journalist is because; children are mostly at ease with ladies than they are with guys. So, as this assigned journalist is interacting with these kids, it should be recorded and uploaded on Air, TV stations, newspapers, social media, etc. So that these kids would believe they are being taken seriously and that they matter to the country.

My top priority is to see that there are no kids roaming helplessly of the streets of my country. So, I am really looking forward to having the chance and opportunity to speak to the government of my country about these kids and share some of my suggestions on how to protect them and get them off the street.

Honestly, if you meet some of these children, it’s difficult for you to just move away without wanting to help them. Some of these kids are very brilliant, smart, and beautiful, but due to lack of attention and care, all these talents are just hidden inside them and going to waste as they roam the streets.

This is just a tip of the iceberg; please make an opportunity for me to talk to some authorities of Africa who can help me help these poor children to embrace their brighter future.

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