Who is responsible to care and help the street children with the burden to manage their own living? | WAJAALE NEWS
Who is responsible to care and help the street children with the burden to manage their own living?
February 15, 2019 - Written by Reporter:

This article is turning the attention of the government and the attention of all Somaliland citizens to the sufferings, pains, live miseries and the unbearable situation that Somaliland street children are facing in the streets of its cities. It is investigating the role of the government and local community in supporting street children. It is revealing how deep the government is aware about the thousands of street children suffering in the towns it governs. It is highlighting how far our community is conscious about the problems that Somaliland street children are within; by judging if the community believes that it has a role to do something about solving the problems of the street children.

Street Children are just children like ours; but are traumatized, chronically neglected, abandoned, and may be orphaned, physically and mentally exploited by other older ones and may be sexually abused. Any child living, working or begging on the street without the care of a family can be defined as a street child. And any child living, working or begging on the street legally by law is a child in need of care and protection from his/her community. We have to note that referring a street child means a child aged between 7 and 17.

The real Street Children we are talking about are not naughty children, not criminals, nor dangerous individuals. The street children we mean are in the above ages, who are thousands in number living in every street of Somaliland cities. These are exploited by the older ones, compelling them to do what they are doing like sniffing of glue and taking alcohol. The street children who are under age, those who are not coping with street life and those who did not go deep in to the street mess, might be easily withdrawn from the street. These are the children we want to save from the danger to be trained to exhibit such behavioural problems and aggressions. They need our urgent help to save them from such substance abuse coping mechanisms before they become part of what they see as their older supportive peer group.

The problems for the street children are things like lack of security; lack of home and family care; lack of shelter that prevent the cold in the winter and rains in the night; lack of education; not having where to keep their small belongings; hunger at most of the time; not knowing what to do when they are sick; not knowing how to maintain their self-respect and self-image, when people like us criticize the way they live or their values; feeling discriminated, disguised, inferior and guilty when they don’t get someone help them find a solution for their sufferings; not knowing how to prepare for an adult future; facing harassment problems that causes mental or emotional suffering from the police, from government, from night criminals and from their older peers who pressure them to do something they don’t want to do.

In some towns there are homeless street girls who quickly experience and get drawn into forcing sex abuses. These are not so noticeable, and people hardly ever talk about them but they exist and are many in number. These girls are more abused and more in need of help than the boys. The truth is however if we do not respond and take a move to save the future of such homeless street girls, means we accept to keep them on the street and be vulnerable to substance abuse, physical and sexual abuse, as well as exploitation from drug dealers, older street peers and all criminal elements.

All children should have security; they should have a home to go to, to provide shelter and a caring family or government or institution or other caring environment; they should be improving themselves and educating at school; they should be clean and healthy, and get help immediately when they are sick. By law children should not have to earn their own living. These we regard as the fundamental rights of children and street children appear to be denied almost all of these rights. This happened to certain percent of our children in the streets partly because of government’s failure in its responsibility and partly because the community’s out of sympathy and out of a sense of morality that offends us when we see children deprived from these childhood essentials.

Street children appeal to comprise our paternal or maternal instincts to protect and care them as young children. why the government of Somaliland which has the responsibility for looking after all its citizens; did not respond immediately and continuously when there are children on the streets, with no parents that cares, who do not have adequate food, security, shelter, education and may be are sick?. We can say the government is clearly failing in its responsibility concerning these suffering children. If the government failed, where is the community? We don’t accept our children to earn their own living; but we feed them with all their needs and requirements; why are we (community) ignoring some other children suffering in front of us with a burden to manage their living along the streets; who need us to do something to help them.

Having young children on the streets and not responding sympathetically offends, insults, humiliates and wounds our ideas and our morality as community in general. One reason for my appeal to do something for the children is our concern for the future. When we see children neglected on the street, we have to worry about what this means for the future of our society. When we see young children fighting with knives in the streets, we have to worry about how violent they will be when they grow up. Our concern for the street children is mixed with a concern for ourselves and our own children. Let us make our instinctive reaction to draw such children back into our way of life and our values. We can help them turn away from the street living and its related behavioural problems; and we can make difference in their future. We need to decide where and how we want them to live in a way that is practically possible.

Though street children are there in all our cities through force of circumstances; the government do not want to talk about their issue; and were trying to wish them out of existence. When one of the street children commits minor misbehavior, immediately the police are rounding them up and sending them to the police stations. I asked one government official is there any policy to help the street children; He simply said “street children are unsightly and dirty to be seen in the streets; and they are tarnishing the image of the city or the country; and that is our major concern”. That is they think the way to solve the problems of the street children is simply to round up and put them in prisons. We hear people talking about “cleaning up” the city from the street children, as if these children of our country are considered dirt. I hope most of us would not agree that this is the way to conceive the sufferings street children are within. The solution is only one and is reintegrating them into the society through caring, helping and educating them.

By law the government is responsible to remove them from the streets, to establish Homestead Residence, to care them, to educate them, to develop and brighten their future. Therefore the government should introduce Street Children Development Programmes; with a vision that there will not be a single child earning his own living on the streets of Somaliland cities in the near future. And it should spearhead and coordinate the establishment of a Main Central Homestead Camp for the Street Children, with all its therapeutic residential care, educational facilities and development programmes.

But we have to know that beyond the law, this responsibility is upon the humanitarian
agencies, social organizations, the rich people, and all of us collectively; these can be stakeholders and have the responsibility to contribute and donate such street children Central Homestead Camp with funds, ideas, building materials and facilities. Street children want to be back with their families, like other family cared children; but they can’t because of the family in poverty or lack of parents. If a homestead camp convenient and suitable in every aspect has been constructed, their families be registered and informed and the children be psychologically encouraged, they may express a desire to leave the streets and catch up the opportunities we offer them. And when taken in to the homestead camp; no child will prefer to live on the street anymore, and will accept to fit into this reliable ever ready and normal mode of life.

We cannot hope to build a better society without improving the individuals and families. To that end, each of us must work for the improvement of the street children and youngsters. The youth in the schools and universities, the army and security personnel, the community members in the working places and markets, the rich groups of the society and the common people should share the general responsibility for all our community, with a particular duty to aid those to whom we think they are at the bottom, specially the street children and those at the IDP camps.

Adam Ali Younis Email: aayonis@hotmail.com


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