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Street Outreach

Despite there being up to 170 million* street children in the world today, the nature of street life makes finding and supporting these children a significant challenge.

Life on the street is challenging and, for many, poses unspeakable hardships. In order to survive, street children find ways to remain hidden and unseen.

* Estimates range from 30 to 170 million

Street children are transient and move around a lot.

They are often frightened and want to avoid visibility.

Street children have a deep mistrust of authorities.

Many do not live on the street all the time, moving between the streets and family.

The definitions of ‘street children’ vary and counting methodologies can be unreliable.

Without a way to reach these children we cannot provide the much needed support they desperately need.

Research by Plan International found there are generally fewer street girls than boys, and they are less visible, but that they are most at risk of abuse, exploitation and sexual assault and the least able to protect themselves.

This is backed by research by Consortium for Street Children which found that up to 30% of street children are likely to be girls, depending on the country.

It is also possible that street girls are not counted because they are hidden from sight with some working in brothels and others disguising themselves as boys to protect themselves from sexual harassment and abuse by other street children, employers, welfare workers and the police.

Our street outreach work

Our street workers find and connect with street children, building lasting relationships that enable us to provide ongoing support.

Our partners’ outreach teams locate areas where young people are living and gathering. Through hard work, staff gradually build trusting and lasting relationships with the children and young people and offer routes out of street life and towards recovery.

Health and wellbeing

Street children will have improved access to basic health, psycho-social, mental health and legal services.

Birth registration

Street children are provided with their birth registration/ID which will give them access to education, healthcare etc.

Education

Street-connected and at-risk children and young people develop the knowledge, skills and qualities to improve their opportunities for the future.

Protection

That local Child Protection Service networks are flexible and work with street children’s feedback.

Community

Street and at-risk children and young people can access safe and inclusive services in their communities.

While the ethos underpinning our outreach work is consistent across all the countries in which we work, the actual services delivered are designed to meet the needs of local contexts.

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How our street outreach changed lives

Eddy

Street Outreach • El Salvador • 2019

“Participating in dance classes helps me to relax, forget my problems and leave the pain behind for a little while”

Read Eddy's story

Selina

Street Outreach • Bolivia • 2019

“My children are the most important thing in my life – I don’t know how I would be if something happened to them.”

Read Selina's story

Linda

Street Outreach • Guatemala • 2017

“Children living on the streets of Guatemala City are some of the most vulnerable to the daily onslaught of the brutality that gangs impose.”

Read Linda's story