Did you know that we work with street-children?

Our Outreach team provide support to street working children in Kinshasa, Photo: David Bebber/War Child UK

Did you know that we work with street-children?

When you think of children affected by conflict, street-connected children are not always what comes mind. 

But conflict is a key driver that pushes children to connect with the streets. 

Street-connected children are some of the most marginalised children in the world

When war starts, children are often displaced and separated from their families. Schools, education and any other support structures are destroyed.  

This can leave children with very limited choices, and the street often becomes their best option for survival. 

Girls living on the streets in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo: David Bebber/War Child UK

How we support street-connected children

In Afghanistan:

On any given day in the towns and cities of Afghanistan, tens of thousands of children head out to beg and work on the streets.

It is against the law for children under the age of 11 to do any kind of work. 

However, in 2008, 60,000 children were estimated to be working on the streets in Kabul. With a lack of reliable survey data over the past 10 years, this number is likely to have increased dramatically.

In Afghanistan, thousands of children working on the streets are the only source of income for their families.

These children, earn on average less than $2 a day. They are often the only source of income in their families.

We're supporting street working children and their parents in Kabul city, and pre-school children living in rural areas in Kabul district, with education services and vocational training courses.

Over the past few months we've been able to enrol 22 street working children over the age of 14 onto courses in tailoring and mobile repairs. 

These courses have already had strong support from community leaders, and we hope to see their impact continue.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo:

The conflict and humanitarian crisis that ravaged the DRC since 1998 has led to the destruction of infrastructure and the collapse of social services. 

It's estimated that 9,200 girls out of 23,000 children living on the streets of Kinshasa, the DRC's capital, come from the poorest neighbourhoods. 

Girls separated from their families develop survival mechanisms that sometimes expose them to sexual exploitation. They do not have access to basic social services or the protection of their parents.

A new population is developing: mothers of children living and working on the street and without experience of life outside this enviroment.

Photo: Zute Lightfoot/War Child UK

The vulnerability of these girls subjected to sexual exploitation and abuse is War Child's main concern.

We do our best to reduce risks, through education, social support for the girls and their families, setting up support groups, and—most importantly—working with local services where necessary to build and promote community cohesion.

Building brighter futures

It is on the street that children build relationships, start their own businesses and live.

Street children are considered some of the most vulnerable children. But they are also some of the most resilient, surviving violent and harsh environments and at the same time providing for others, supporting friends, siblings and their own children.

We won't stop supporting street-connected children, helping them to build brighter futures. 

About the authors:

Natalie is War Child UK’s Policy and Advocacy Advisor (Child Rights and Protection). Prior to joining War Child she spent six years advocating for street-connected children’s rights at UN and national levels as Advocacy and Research Manager at the Consortium for Street Children.

Ben is our Regional Programme Officer for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Clem is our Regional Programme Officer for the DRC and Burundi.

Our programme in the DRC is funded by the brilliant players of the People's Postcode Lottery.

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