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From: Readers' feedback issue – Footsteps 31

What is at the heart of participatory development and empowerment?

Working with street children - Community values

In many cities and towns streets are increasingly becoming homes for countless children.

Insecurity, AIDS, poverty and other factors push many African children onto the streets, but the breakdown of the extended family structure and the related decline in religious and cultural morals make the situation much worse.

Traditional African education gave young people values of respect, hard work and good behaviour. Religious education used to be a must at home and school for every child. The traditions and religious beliefs that guaranteed faithful marriages are steadily disappearing.

Bringing up a child used to be a collective responsibility for the whole community. Anyone would discipline a naughty child. Today the responsibility to discipline a neighbour’s child has gone.

The extended family used to be morally obliged to care for orphans. Today, however, economic pressures, selfishness and individual rights have robbed

African society of much of the hospitality and sympathy that Africans held so dear.

Children are a gift from God. They are the leaders of tomorrow. If they are on the streets today, tomorrow our leaders may hold street values and morals.

Sent in by Jjuko D Robert, AEC, Box 2056, Jinja, Uganda.

Awareness-raising

There is a huge need to raise awareness of the needs of street children. I offer the following suggestions…

Governments should:

Non-Government Organisations should:

Film makers and artists can do a great deal to raise people’s awareness.

Parents can try to solve problems before they become serious:

Bomnsa Thaddeus Jini Resource Management Consultants PO Box 2185 Bamenda Cameroon

Talented Tigers

In Kampala, Uganda, over 100 street boys meet to play football each week on a makeshift pitch. They call themselves the Tigers’ Club. Amazingly, they have organised themselves and entered national youth competitions and won!

Their success has not gone unnoticed. A local church is now helping them with meals and a nurse is providing medical care.

A small success story to bring encouragement to those working with street children.

Source: Jubilee Action

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