Browsing by Subject "child work"

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  • Nerg, Liisa (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    Street children is a broad topic that has been studied by various researchers often focusing on some more specific part, for example street life and activities in the street. In the previous years, the voices of the children themselves have been increasingly taken into account. In this study the focus is on the ways of helping the children and how to support them to get out of the street. The aim is to find the best practices to support the children and to see if the strategies of the centres meet the needs of the children. Therefore, it is important to study why the children have ended up in the street at the first place and what kind of survival strategies they have. Also the reasons for them to run away back to the street again are discussed. The study is an ethnographic case study. The methods used for data collection were interviews and participant observation. The field study was conducted in Lusaka, Zambia, in three different centres for street children. Some participant observation was done in the street too. For clarity’s sake the perceptions of the children and the strategies of the centres are analysed and discussed in different chapters. The findings show that there are various push factors for children ending up in the street, for example poverty and violence at home. Also not having anywhere to go to and the need to survive are pushing children to the street. Running away from the centres is linked to violence but also to freedom, addiction to drugs and alcohol as well as peer pressure. In the street the most usual activity is begging, which is considered as a mean of survival. Aside of begging, children do different kinds of piece works. Street life is hard and unsafe: there is violence, hunger, theft and addiction to glue and drugs. The friends in the street were seen as an important thing in order to survive. Among the children, the centres are generally considered as a good way to get out of the street, alongside education. However, the violence used in some centres is criticised and the child’s willingness to go to the centre is considered as important. Children who are willing to come to the centres can be found through street outreach. From the point of view of the centre staff children working and staying in the street is problematic because these children are deprived of their rights, for example right to education. Often the children do have parents or relatives but they are working in the street in order to support the families. The domestic work is considered as a normal thing whereas the work in the street is seen as abuse and exploitation. Sometimes the parents even send the children to the street to earn money. Work in the street often prevents the children from going to school but sometimes the work can help them to afford going to school. However, children working in the street are often taken advantage of. Both the street life and the work in the street has a lot of consequences for the child’s health and well-being, both physical and psychological. Despite the hardships in the street, there is also friends, belonging and freedom. A simple solution to tackle the street child phenomenon is to stop giving money to the children in the street and direct them to the facilities, where they can obtain education and life skills. The staff of the centres have a consensus of home being the best place for the child. The children’s perceptions are somewhat similar to the strategies of the centres when discussing the best ways to help the children. One simple solution is to stop giving the children money in the street. For the child to integrate to the society he/she needs a place he/she can consider as home, family or guardians, rehabilitation and education. Also the government’s intervention would be important in order to support the families to get help from the social welfare and to send the children to school. This study contributes to the discussion of street children, their lives in the street and how to help them, both from the point of views of the children and the staff of the centres.