street childrenStreet children can befound everywhere in the world, although there are large differences w.r.t. scale, causes and type of the underlying problems. The Brazilian city Manaus and the rest of the provence of Amazones hold several ten thousands of street children.Amazones telt enkele tienduizenden straatkinderen.

What are street children?

Street children are those children who literally live on and from the street, children for which the street is more their home than their family . These children are not necessarily homeless or orphan: but what they have in common is that they live in circumstances without protection and care of responsible adults.

  • The children on the street
    They are the children who work on the street and make money there. Often they still have contact with their father, mother or other relatives. In most cases they also live at home but beside school they spend a large part of the day on the street to earn some  extra money for the family.
  • The children of the street
    They are the children for whom the street is their home. They live, work, eat, drink on the street. Those children are completely on their own. Very often they have no family contact anymore. Also often such children start working on the streeet, but because of abuse, etc. or they just want to keep the earnings for theirselves. They try to earn their money and if they fail, they start stealing, or they get into prositution or the drug circuit.

The cause of the large number of street children in Brazil

street childrenIn Brazil there is traditionally an unjust distribution of wealth in the country. This is a society of extremes occur both economically and socially.

In Brazil took the last decades a massive migration from the interior to the cities. The living conditions in the interior were and are getting worse. The only option remaining to them, with the whole family to the city attract and to try to find a job. The cities can not absorb all those people. There is neither enough work or enough housing. Arise slums and high unemployment. And the large potential workers' salaries, for the lucky ones who find work, often low. To survive, everyone in the family a bit. People try to earn money by selling fruit, candy and all the other goods on the street.

Many children have all sorts of jobs, such as cleaning shoes, washing cars, bags contribute supermarkets, juggling the traffic lights or go if nothing else can beg or steal. Girls often stay at home to help them adjust to their smaller siblings. This causes the children to school irregularly or not. They spend most of the time in the streets in the hope to earn. Because the situation at home is often problematic (bad living conditions, broken families, alcoholism, violence and lack of love) is the step to a permanent life on the streets is not so great anymore.

Surviving on the streets

street childrenOnce on the street often follows a hard struggle for existence. Every day is a quest for something to eat, to drink and at the end of the day a safe place to sleep.

The smaller children often still arouse pity and get to bars and restaurants which slipped. The older children are only seen as a threat. Many people are afraid to be robbed and keep distance. This ensures that the children in social isolation. They feel ostracized from society.

The children when they join up on the street quickly to a group of children, being part of a group gives him or her protection. They sleep densely packed in the doorways, streets and parks of the city. In such a group set up street children often also their first steps in the crime. Their dream is to work with the drug gangs where they are the most rotten chores are assigned (as a lookout or courier). Meanwhile, most of the children already familiar with the juvenile detention where they usually even greater hatred for society to develop.

The street life has a disastrous effect on the health of children. Many children are malnourished, have AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. The lack of support and affection leads to a negative self-image. Often, they feel that they have no control over their own lives. And then they fall easy prey to drug or alcohol addiction. Sniffing glue, turpentine or other intoxicants is quite normal for Brazilian street children.

Fortunately, in recent years a change to signal. The population of Manaus is gaining a clear picture of what it means to live as a street child. In Brazil, this has led to a new child-friendly juvenile law.

Violence against street children, however, remains. Entrepreneurs and citizens who are robbed by street they remain as a problem that must be combated by force if necessary. Arranged the children threatened, beaten or even killed.

The law of the strongest in the streets literally applicable. Beg, steal, fight, fight for eating or drinking, and drug use turpentine to hunger and fear not feel. It belongs to the daily lives of street children.

Foundation "Help mij Leven"

The Dutch Foundation "Help Mij Leven ', which is for projects in Rio de Janeiro commitment, has allowed us the text" Street Children in Brazil "on their website to use if we cite the source, which we naturally gladly honor.
The pictures come from the website of the foundation. See also

In this environment attempts Foundation Mission Amazons by intensive outreach to make the difference for life.

Betty Smit

Rua João Valério -
Travessa São Bernardo, 37-A
Manaus A.M. CEP:69053-690
Amazonas, Brasil


Zending Amazones
Marterveld 29,
8017 ME Zwolle
038-465 80 28

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