There are many reasons why children end up living in the streets without any supervision. Here are three types of street children:
- The so-called ‘nourricière’-street children: they are sent out by their parents to earn money which they will use in the evening to feed their family.
- The ‘refuge’-street children: children who run away from the difficulties at home like drug abuse, violence,… They take refuge in the streets where they have to survive day and night, taking on all kinds of jobs.
- Those who are called ‘identitaire’-street children are those who after a certain period of time come to think of the streets as their home, to conduct street trading, or steal or sell drugs. They lose contact with their families and eventually grow up to be adults of the street. This group is the hardest to re-integrate.
Once children start living on the streets, they drop out of school and search for any way of getting some food. They collect and sell peanuts, sunglasses or plastic bags, help out with the odd job, dance and beg. Groups of children organise themselves so they can make it safe through the night and to guard their ‘territory’. They can be violent when a strangers trespasses, but are themselves particularly vulnerable to violence and abuse.
KIYO collaborates with partners who work for the re-integration of these children. Not only by providing shelter, but also integrating them into school and offering them a way back into society.