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Facts about Homelessness in NepalNestled almost entirely in the Himalayas, the country of Nepal is home to more than 28 million people. Unfortunately, homelessness burdens more than 250,000 people and an additional 2.8 million are bound to life in the slums, many being children. Political instability, natural disasters and a weak economy are all factors that contribute to the state of homelessness in the country. However, campaigns and organizations like Children & Youth First are improving the quality of life for some of Nepal’s poorest citizens. Here are five facts about homelessness in Nepal.

5 Facts about Homelessness in Nepal

  1. Around 25 percent of Nepali people are living off less than $1.90 a day. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. More than a quarter of its population lives below the poverty line. This means that thousands of families are living off a little more than a dollar a day, which makes owning a home nearly impossible. This statistic directly affects the rate of homelessness in Nepal, which is extremely high and will only continue to rise if nothing is done.
  2. Natural disasters are destroying homes. Due to its location along the slopes of the Himalayan mountains, Nepal is prone to natural disasters. The country is at a high risk for earthquakes, floods and landslides. All of these are disasters capable of destroying hundreds of homes in an instant. In 2015, an earthquake demolished more than 600,000 homes, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless and costing about $10 billion worth of damage. A reported 22,000 people were injured. The humanitarian response was large, however, and Nepal received worldwide help with disaster relief from various countries including Bangladesh, China and India.
  3. Homeless children in Nepal are vulnerable to a number of threats including drug addiction and child labor, which are both crippling to a child’s potential. Because they do not have access to constant shelter or a safe environment, these children’s education and futures are often compromised. Fortunately, organizations like Children & Youth First are working to rescuing these children from the streets and give them a space to learn, grow and thrive in a safe and supportive environment. In addition to rescuing homeless children from living on the streets, this organization also helped to rebuild the rural government schools that were destroyed in the 2015 earthquake.
  4. The Children & Youth First also started the  Life Vision Academy program is changing the cycle of poverty by allowing homeless children to unlock their potential. Life Vision Academy is one of the most successful programs when it comes to reversing the impact of poverty in Nepal. At Life Vision Academy, formerly marginalized children are allowed the opportunity to construct a future free from the burden of homelessness. LVA also offers a program that trains homeless and underprivileged children in STEM, which ultimately broadens their horizons.
  5. In December of last year, Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) launched a campaign that was able to rescue and rehabilitate around 750 homeless people from the nation’s capital in just two months. KMC provided necessities like shelter and health screenings to the rescued individuals. It also helped to reunite a large number of them with their families. In addition to this, the campaign also offered rehabilitation for any people affected by drug addiction.

Homelessness in Nepal is still a prevalent issue, but organizations are working to improve the lives of those affected by poverty. By rescuing people from the streets, rehabilitating people and giving homeless children an opportunity to tap into their potentials, these campaigns and programs are helping to lift the burden of homelessness from the country.

Hadley West
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Helping street childrenToday, there are an estimated 100 million homeless children in the world. Many more children, due to family instability, poverty or abuse, spend the majority of their days on the street either working or begging. The U.N. defines a “street child” as any child for whom the street has become his/her habitual abode and/or source of livelihood and who is not sufficiently supervised or protected by adults.

Street children are at high risk of verbal, physical and sexual abuse; girls are highly vulnerable to sexual assault, sex trafficking and may resort to commercial sex work. Street life poses other risks such as hunger, drug abuse, violence, disease, labor exploitation and police brutality. Worse yet, many street children are viewed with contempt by the public; they are seen as dirty, criminal, and are subject to discrimination.

Street children are in desperate need of guidance and support. Fortunately, there are many nonprofit agencies and organizations around the world helping street children through advocacy and outreach. Here are five organizations fighting for justice and rehabilitation for street children:

I Care in South Africa

I Care is a small nonprofit organization based in Durban, South Africa that provides support, rehabilitation and education for street children. The main goals at I Care are to help children learn crucial life skills like honesty, good work ethic and a collaborative attitude. These skills will help them get off the streets and live successful lives. The organization has been helping street children since 2002, directing donations to rehabilitation and skills programs. Rather than giving directly to children, I Care urged the public to direct funds to its programs, which include safe-houses, free meals and skills training for kids living on the streets.

The Africa Educational Trust

The Africa Educational Trust (AET) recognizes the severe problem that homeless and street children pose in Africa. Street children are at high risk for disease, drugs, exploitation, physical and sexual abuse. The AET believes that education is key in improving the lives of street children. The organization works with schools to help them understand the unique needs of street children, who have trouble successfully integrating into classroom settings. By partnering with local organizations, the AET provides psychological and academic support to children beginning or re-entering school. “School starter kits,” which include uniforms, textbooks, and other materials are prepared and distributed to children in need.

Railway Children

This U.K. based organization works to find children in abusive, neglectful, and/or impoverished conditions in order to prevent them from running away and living on the streets. Railway Children works in India and East Africa, where millions of orphans and runaways fill the streets. They also work in the U.K., where hundreds of children run away from home each year to escape violence and neglect. Railway Children makes a point to partner with local authorities and civil society because “[local partners] know the area, children, and local culture best.” Outreach workers reach out and gain the trust of street children, return them home when possible, and tailor to the needs of each unique case. The organization also works with policymakers, advocating for children on the street and making sure they are prioritized in the creation of legislation.

The Consortium for Street Children

This NGO unites member organizations around the world to fight for homeless children through international advocacy, legal services, outreach, research, grassroots casework and policy analysis. The global network consists of more than 100 NGOs, lawyers, researchers and individuals helping street children in 135 countries. The organization facilitates cooperation between members and adopted a five-year plan in 2019 to mobilize global action for street children’s rights by pressuring U.N. member states to amend policies and protect children. In 2018, the Consortium for Street Children hosted an international conference focused on equality and inclusion. The organization asserts that every single person on this planet matters and that street children should be afforded the same rights and opportunities as their peers.

Street Child

Founded in the U.K. in 2008, Street Child has helped over 200,000 street-associated children and families by providing educational opportunities and poverty relief. The organization believes that universal basic education is crucial in the elimination of global poverty and recognizes the many obstacles to education facing street children. Street Child creates low-cost, sustainable solutions informed by research in 1o countries across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Millions of children around the globe have to live and work on the street to survive. This dangerous environment makes them vulnerable to violence, exploitation, hunger and disease. Helping street children should be a global priority. Luckily, organizations providing outreach, advocacy, education and protection for street children have made great strides in the global fight against poverty.

– Nicollet Laframboise
Photo: Flickr

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The second Street Child World Cup has officially kicked off as of March 28 where it first originated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

With the excitement surrounding the highly anticipated FIFA World Cup, the Street Child World Cup was set to precede FIFA.

The Street Child World Cup is an event made to focus on the plight of street children around the world while incorporating their love of soccer and arts to share their experiences with one another as well as bringing awareness to the public.

You may be asking yourself, what is a street child? The answer is as simple as the name sounds. A street child is a child forced to live a life on the streets doing whatever they can to survive with poverty more often than not being the heart of the problem.

Many street children are without homes or even families to go back to. Some have been torn away from their families during the outbreak of a war and others have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS.

There are also those children who are left to live a life on the streets as a means to provide for their family the best they can.

Warchild.org reports that the number of street children in the world is estimated to be over 100 million. To put this statistic in perspective, that is nearly one-third of the United States population.

The Street Child World Cup is more than just a soccer game where children around the world gather together. It is a global campaign to bring recognition to a marginalized youth and push for the protection of an easily overlooked group.

This 10-day event brings together teams of street children from up to 20 countries that will get the opportunity to interact with one another throughout the various workshops hosted.

In fact, rather than making the games the main focus, the campaign provides children with a creative outlet enabling them to express their plight through various workshops.

The workshops offer something for all of the participants ranging from technology based workshops, to the choir, photography, cooking, yoga, etc.

This campaign is being used to challenge the negative perceptions and treatment of street children around the world.

Street Child World Cup places the hardships that street children endure everyday at the forefront of the public consciousness by putting street children in the spotlight as media coverage and interest levels rise around the soccer games.

“Street Child World Cup is an initiative of UK registered charity Street Child United. The aim is to provide a platform for street children to be heard, to challenge negative stereotypes of street children and to promote the rights of street children.”

UNICEF reported that one billion children are deprived of at least one service essential to development and survival. Street children fall under this category all too well.

The Street Child World Cup gives the children a place to escape the dangers that have unfortunately become just another aspect of their lives.

 – Janelle Mills

Sources: Street Child World Cup (1), Street Child World Cup (2), War Child, The Borgen Project
Photo: WordPress

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According to a report from the National Center on Family Homelessness, in 2010 there were more than 1.6 million homeless children across the span of the U.S.

Lacking any sort of permanent residency, these children often stay on the streets, in shelters, motels, cars and abandoned buildings.

At the age of five, a young boy by the name of Nicholas Lowinger visited a homeless shelter with his mother. His excitement to show his new light-up sneakers to the other children was apparent, but his mother advised him not to do so.

After interacting with the children at the shelter, Nicholas soon realized that they were living under conditions quite different from his own. Lowinger recalls seeing children whose shoes were tattered, worn, and falling apart. Or there were the extremely unfortunate individuals who had no shoes at all.

Now the age of 15, Nicholas says, “I have been very fortunate to grow up in a family that is able to provide me with whatever I need. A lot of kids here in the U.S don’t have the same opportunities.”

Following this visit Nicholas began to donate his older shoes to local shelters. Although he made an effort, he soon realized that his donations were not as helpful as he had hoped.

Due to the lasting impression that his first visit to a homeless shelter left and his desire to make a difference, at the age of 12, Nicholas began a program that donates new shoes to children who are homeless.

“Homeless children shouldn’t have to worry about how they’ll be accepted or how they’ll fit in,” Nicholas said. “They shouldn’t have to worry about not being able to play sports or go to school because they don’t have a pair of shoes.”

Initially, the program began as a part of a community service project, building up to his bar mitzvah. Noticing the difference that was being made, though, Nicholas wanted to ensure that the program would go on even after his bar mitzvah ceremony ended.

With the assistance of his parents, Nicholas began the Gotta Have Sole Foundation. Since it’s start-up, this organization has provided more than 10,000 children with new footwear, in over 21 states.

“New shoes can make a child feel good about him or herself. They gain confidence; they’re able to do better in school,” Nicholas said.

In the Lowinger family garage, one would find an abundance of new shoes that have been donated by footwear companies, stores, and individuals. Any size or style that they do not already have is acquired through the organizations monetary donations.

Over 1,000 volunteers help with this organization, and Nicholas himself works 15 hours a week on it. Nicholas thoroughly encourages young individuals to not allow their age to get in the way of achieving their dreams.

– Samaria Garrett

Sources: CNN, Gotta Have Sole
Photo: 100k Homes