Keywords: egypt avenue children, egypt child poverty

Street Children Phenomena in Egypt

The street children sensation in Egypt as known for most people is one of Egypt’s serious problems. Egypt is one of the countries with the highest number of block children. I decided to research this subject because it is one of the long lasting problems Egypt is facing. There are a great number of misunderstandings about the meaning of the word “street children”, in line with the UNICEF; children must fall under one of the two definitions to become called road children. ” First, Children who are involved in a few kind of economic activity which range from begging to stealing. Most go home at the end of your day and add their earnings with their family. They might be attending college and retain a sense of belonging to a family. Because of the economical fragility of the family, these children may eventually opt for a long term life on the pavements. Second, Children of the road actually go on the road (or beyond a normal family environment). Family ties may exist but are tenuous and are taken care of only casually or sometimes. “I purpose by this research to judge the problem of block children in Egypt and also to know their priorities, activities and problems. Also, identify the actions done by the governmental and non-governmental organizations about the problem of streets children. Finally, raise awareness to the street children problem in Egypt.

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In Egypt, administration legislation and guidelines relating to street children remains mainly disciplinary to the street children who are viewed as criminals and a danger to the contemporary society. Generally, the world looks at delinquents and block children as a disease that should be cared for by isolation. Regardless of the lack of conclusive information about neighborhood children, many socio-economic signals show that the occurrence of streets children is growing, especially in large locations. “The US Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) conducted a Rapid Situation Assessment of road children in the two biggest towns in Egypt: Greater Cairo and Alexandria. Matching to this study, Poverty, family malfunction, and child abuse and neglect, seem to be the leading factors behind the condition of neighborhood children. “Eighty percent of the children face real or regular threat of violence from employers, hostile-abusive community participants, and their peers. Ignorant about health, cleanliness, and diet and deprived of services to safeguard them, road children are a malnourished sub-population subsisting by using an inadequate diet. Functionally illiterate (70 percent of the sample were institution drop-outs, 30 percent had never attended schools in the first place), economic survival means working at most menial tasks, or worse, begging, or thieving”.

A lot of attempts have been made to try and estimate the number of streets children in Egypt, but it is said that each of them lack accuracy and reliability and consistency. Sedik (1995), predicated on the details of Al-Amal Community in Cairo, predicted that the number of neighborhood children in Egypt, both males and females, is 93, 000. Data show that the reason why for having less valid and reliable information on the magnitude of the condition of avenue children are because it is hard to carry out surveys on the amount of avenue children because of they don’t live in one place. Another reason is basically because the police records don’t keep record except on the children who are captured and delivered to the corrective companies by a court order.

Through my research I found out a great deal of causes for the road children phenomena. Children try to escape of their homes in Egypt because of child abuse, sensation seeking, neglect, lifetime of other brothers and sisters on the street and peer pressure. Children say that they were kicked out with their homes and forced to live in the avenues and abused by their family or the people they work for. There are a great number of ways for misuse. Abuse often takes the proper execution of severe conquering and insults for small mistakes. A lot of children choose to go on the roads because they feel these are clear of any boundaries. A wide array of children said that one of the main known reasons for moving to the street life is neglect. It might happen due to the illness of one of the parents, or the existence of a large family, or overlook because of divorce. The lifestyle of other siblings especially elderly ones influence their young siblings to check out their lead and move to go on the roads if their family is facing the problems that they can’t handle. Sometimes they move alongside one another to check out one another on the pavements. Peer pressure works among the most effective solutions to increase the street children phenomena. Children describe that peers help them change to the life span on the avenues during their early days on the pavements by providing food, entertainment, shelter and coverage.

Neighborhood children are usually there for every other. They help one another cope with the road life by explaining where you can live, how to earn money and what should be done in case a challenge happens. Block children usually do work it doesn’t require any complex skills nevertheless they do marginal careers that could supply them with money to survive only. Some of the work done by block children relating to UN records include “Begging, cleansing autos or shop home windows, selling paper tissue on the roadways, working temporarily in outlets or factories informally, collecting plastic material from wastes to sell to recycling factories, fishing and selling the catch, shining shoes, hauling luggage in the markets for people for the money, selling newspapers and lastly prostitution. Block children usually perform their work every day, working in a range of “4 to 18 hours every day whether in doing one activity or lots of activities consecutively. They usually earn from 3 to 20 Egyptian pounds each day. “

Road children are exposed to problems everyday because of the life on the road with no elder guidance or protection. One of the problems is assault. Streets children could face assault in lots of ways. For example, assault inside the kids groups where elderly street children abuse younger children violence from the encompassing community which don’t approve of their occurrence, Violence in the surroundings where employers exploit street children. Violence is often associated with intimate abuse which younger neighborhood children and avenue females are exposed to. Another problem that neighborhood children face is the city disapproval. Street children are turned down by culture. They aren’t accepted because of the appearance and habit. People tend to drive block children away because of this of fear and disgust. One third problem is the police arrests. Streets children are always exposed to being arrested by authorities and returned with their families or committed to correction institutions. This technique does not require any efforts to change the original reason behind break free from homes resulting in the escape again to the road and the repetition of the vicious group. The ultimate problem is substance abuse. Street children are facing a serious problem which is free use of drugs and substances that lead them to lose consciousness, suffer from ongoing disorientation and spending all their daily earnings. Lack of good model and refusal of modern culture lead to prevailing frustration of the road children and sacrificing of hope in any good future.

Federal government used to totally ignore the problem of streets children who represented to the federal government a source of shame and humiliation. The effect was to disregard and hide the problem rather than face it and look for solutions to the causes that lead to the spread of the problem. Sometimes the federal government may use police forces (authorities) to gather streets children and put them into juvenile correctional institutes where they mingle with criminals and finally the children escapes back again to the streets with police arrest records. NGOs, on the other hand, have handled the challenge in a more consciences way. Programs have been developed and funded to acknowledge the street children to residences and orphanages and try to fit them in the modern culture and sign up them in institutions. NGOs have several perspectives to approach the problem. They use the multimedia to advocate the rights of neighborhood children and to promote their fight to protect these children and treat them as victims alternatively than criminals who must be locked up. NGOs make an effort to partner with the Government to execute studies to determine laws to protect the rights of the children. NGOs also have programs that help street children in their own environment which is the streets. NGOs provide food medical care and financial assist with the street children. NGOs also try to reunite as much street children as you possibly can with their own families and provide psychological therapy and communal consultations to the kids and their families to attain to underneath of the condition and find a solution to the issues that drive children away from their homes.

To conclude, everyone would agree on the magnitude of the condition of road children. The federal government and the NGOs have exerted many work to face the phenomena of neighborhood children but more work is needed if indeed they want to attain their focus on which is eliminating or at least lowering this problem in Egypt. Laws and legislations should be produced to protect street children and help them easily fit into the society. As to the society I feel that more awareness campaigns are had a need to get people involved with this issue. We interact with the road children everyday but we always unintentially neglect them. Sometimes people treat street children as though these are something disgusting. Other times people treat street children as though they don’t exist. That’s the reason why awareness campaigns should take spot to explain to people that nearly all these children were forced to live on the streets plus they didn’t choose this themselves. Everyone should believe that they have an obligation towards these children and want to help them and offer them with a better life.

Works cited:

  • “Block children in Egypt: from the home to the street to inappropriate corrective corporations” by Iman Bibars- Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 10, No. 1, 201-216 (1998) DOI: 10. 1177/095624789801000108
  • Article: “EGYPT: Road children worst hit by violence, experts say”19 Nov 2006 Source: IRIN
  • SPAAC (1993), Road Children in Egypt, UNICEF, Cairo.
  • Street Children in Egypt: Group Dynamics and Subculture Constituents. by Nashaat Hussein
  • Article: Uncountable Statistics’ Of Avenue Children Create New Problems By Michaela Vocalist First Published: Feb 24, 2008, Daily News EGYPT
  • Mehdi, Ali. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 17th of November, 2009.
  • Sedik, A. Activities with Road Children in Egypt. Centre for Child Rights and Coverage, Cairo, 1995.
  • Abu El-Nasr, A. , 1992; Abdel Nabi, A. , 1994; Sedik, A. , 1995; and Koraim, A. , 1998.
  • Hussein, N. 1998; Azer, A. The Problem of Child Labor in Egypt, 1996.