Globally, millions of children live, sleep or survive on the streets because of conflict, crisis or poverty. Without support, they face danger and violence and are a long way from going to school.
Street Child was started in 2008 to help street children in Sierra Leone who were in this situation. Our work began with a single project for 100 street children in Makeni, Northern Sierra Leone. Since then, we have become experts in child protection and have helped thousands of street children across West Africa to find a safe home and go to school.
But we aren't stopping there.
With your help, we want to support thousands more children off the streets and into school, and give them the chance of a brighter future.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
We work to help children off the streets, away from danger and into school. We don't believe in orphanages or any other form of center. Instead, our dedicated street teams and social workers work hard to change the lives of as many children as possible. Their 'office' is the street. They spend their time meeting and gradually befriending street-connected children - gaining trust and becoming the safe adult that is missing in most street children's lives.
Through a process of counselling and mediation, our teams work to strengthen the child's family bonds, starting, if needs be, with tracing their family, reuniting them, and mediating the relationship between child and family until it is strong and stable. Once the child is settled in a secure family environment, Street Child focuses on helping them back to school, including in most cases, introducing their caregivers to our livelihood support teams, to ensure that they have the financial strength to keep the child in school.
Street Child also works to protect children and prevent them from depending on the street in the first place. We do this by strengthening rural education, because migrating to towns for education is a common reason children end up on the streets. We also work to strengthen child protection with Child Welfare Committees and other school community-based advocacy.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
In some regions it can cost as little as $50 to send a child to school for a year. With your help, we can give more children the chance of a brighter future.
STORIES FROM OUR WORK
AMINATA, THE YOUNG WOMAN WHO IS REBUILDING HER LIFE
Aminata used to live with her sister and brother-in-law. Aminata's sister died during Ebola and her brother-in-law remarried. The new wife forced Aminata to sell small goods to make money for the family but one day she lost the money she had earned. The new wife told her to go back and find the money; but she couldn't, so she slept with a man to make money. Then she got pregnant and was kicked out of the house for what her 'family' considered to be 'immoral behavior'.
Aminata ended up working on the dump, picking plastic to sell. She lived and worked there, staying with a lady who lived on the edge of the dump. Aminata worked on the dump right up until the birth - she was on the dump when she had her first contractions.
Street Child heard her story and helped her to go back to school, by supporting her caregiver with a grant to set up a business and giving Aminata school supplies. Today, she is doing well in school and her little daughter is doing well too.
Aminata said: ‘I have more hope for the future because when I’ve finished my schooling I will become a prominent individual. I like math best. I want to become a nurse.’
IBRAHIM, THE BOY LEARNING TO READ AND WRITE
12-year-old Ibrahim lives with his parents and five siblings in Maiduguri in Northeast Nigeria. Ibrahim and his family were forced to flee their home from conflict, leaving everything behind.
Street Child has set up a temporary learning center in Ibrahim's community to give him a safe space to play and learn.
He says: 'I like Street Child school because I can read and write'.