Children living and working on the street are some of the most excluded and unprotected in the world. While some are homeless with their families, or return home at night after working on the street, many others are without parental care or a home and have no viable alternatives. This may be the result of family disintegration, conflict, poverty, HIV/AIDS, abuse or neglect. Life on the street exposes children to a myriad of risks and robs them of the safety and comfort that a family environment can offer.
In this regard HAMI center of Semnan has participated in a joint meeting with presence of other NGOs and the welfare office of Semnan to discuss the situation of street children in Semnan.
In everyday speech, people may use lots of different words or terms. ‘Street children’ and ‘homeless children’ or homeless youth might be used interchangeably, but there are some differences.
Not all children who are homeless end up living in the open on the street. Many end up sleeping in very inappropriate but out of sight places – on the floors of friends or strangers, or sleeping in temporary accommodation like hostels. For example, the homeless charity Shelter estimated in 2018 that as many as 9,500 UK children have spent their Christmas in a hostel or other temporary accommodation, often with one family in a single room, sharing bathrooms and kitchens with other residents who they don’t know or trust.
Conversely, not all children who can be described as ‘street children’ are necessarily homeless. They may work, play or spend their time on the street, but may go back to sleep with their family or parents.