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Street Children in Our World

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Street Children in Our World essay

Street children use various coping strategies to deal with problems they face on the street. They rely on the efforts of a combination of activities for survival. They draw on their various forms of resources (negotiating skills, labor and social networks) in the process of making a living on the street. Their survival skills and various coping strategies toughen them to survive on the streets (Samuel, 2014, p170). The street children make use of legal and illegal ways to cope with problems on the street.

Samuel (2014), find out that street children’s survival strategies are difficult. The basic need of life that may be essential for an individual to reach self-sufficiency includes but not limited to food, water, shelter, and clothing. The children face daily challenges of finding work, food, clothing and a safe place to sleep and for this they use several strategies to cope with the difficulties of living on the street. Street children often have several alternative ways to earn an income. For many children it is hard to find work and they are vulnerable to many hazards such as abuse and exploitation. Kombarakaran (2003) notes that many employers overwork street children, pay them less, keep part of their earnings and abuse them. Often, self-employment, such as selling goods or washing car windows, is the preferred strategy for income generation as the work time and strategy is decided by the child.

The respondents indicated that most street children use to beg for food as a coping strategy. Many of them used to eat the leftovers at open restaurants stay without food by fasting and skipping meals. In food related facts it becomes apparent that street children can use both approach strategy of coping and avoidance coping mechanism simultaneously at a time. Survey conducted in Addis Ababa revealed that out 50 children, 22 (44%) use begging as coping strategy usually from hotels and restaurants. This means most street children survive from begging (Samuel, 2014).

Another important strategy indicated was the situation of pleading helplessness or making up a story of being orphaned or abandoned by family. This strategy is often learned by listening to other children’s’ experiences with the police. According a study conducted in Addis Ababa street children use purchasing second hand cloth as most common means of getting cloth and second most common source of cloth was sympathetic people and collecting from garbage (Adugna, 2006). This study to point out the fact that some of these street engage in indecent activities such as thievery to get clothes.

The respondents indicated that most of the street children spend their night often in video houses, abandoned buildings and cars. Although the majority of children do not have sufficient shelter, they are capable of organizing their own shelter construction adjacent to modern buildings, public parks, and against walls of churches (Adugna, 2006, p92). Another study in Adama revealed that a street child who makes money mainly through shining shoe rent house in group (Girmay, 2007).

The respondents indicated that most of the street children when they are sick, they buy medicine direct from local shop and pharmacies or they can also share medicine with their friends in the street. The study reveals that the coping strategies most mentioned were hanging out with friends and taking drugs or alcohol. These strategies are described as relaxing and as a social activity by which one can bond with friends on the street. In response to lack of access to basic amenities, a common strategy generally adopted by the street children was to keep patience and endure the problem until they found any solution. Such attempts to keep patience and endure the problem is the representation of their approach strategy of coping and once finding an alternative, if possible, displays their avoidance coping mechanism.

Street children in Addis Ababa use drug to change their feeling and have good time in (Hetch, 1998 as cited in Adugna, 2006). According to Rana (2011) street children respond to psychological problems in various ways which include feeling inferior and depression through being antagonistic and developing hateful attitude which further manifested in involving in criminal or aggressive behaviors. To solve their problems, they also smoke, take alcohol and other cheap drugs. These street children who lived without care had much inclination to take on negative ways to deal with their problems, which further aggravate their condition and induced them to drug addiction, store restlessness in their minds, and cultivate loneliness in their social life (Rana, 2011).

The respondents indicated that most of the street children form groups and develop networks of friendship with people who have similar lifestyles. Social networks play an important role in learning to survive and they also offer protection against violence. They added that the group provides a feeling of belonging, and could be observed that the participants have developed strong solidarity among each other. Acquiring status and respect among their peers can thus be understood as a coping mechanism against the discrimination, distrust and marginalization they experience in their daily lives.

According to Samuel (2014) street children also has to deal with how they protect themselves against violence and other forms of abuse. A study in three provinces of Pakistan found out that street children were more often than not exposed to unsafe environment where they were faced with aggressive groups. Thus, to cope with this difficulty they use their innate ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ reaction which is natural coping mechanisms (Rana, 2011). This natural defense mechanism gave them extra power to confront those threats and overcome their fears or to escape immediately in case of intensity of unfavorable situation or danger. They learned to cope with dangerous situations from their daily experiences and develop some kind of internal and external defense mechanisms which they never hesitate to use when time comes.

It was revealed that as a defense mechanism they had formed a group commonly known as “gang” for their protection and pledged to fight for the other members of the group in case any member of their group was attacked by anyone outside the group. But if one started abusing them verbally they responded in an even more aggressive manner and made one’s position awkward (Rana, 2011, p334-336).

The study revealed that street children have to earn to pay for accessing drinking water and toilet services to some extent. In many places, the street children cope with the problem of access to drinking water through begging drinking water with bottles. Finding also showed that during Summer Street children rely on water pots at taxi stands was one major source of drinking water for them. Study result showed that street children also rely on community taps and pumps for water. A study in South Africa revealed that street children bath in areas like ocean, railway stations, leaking water pipes and public water kiosks. Findings also revealed that respondents use places like public toilets, railway stations, hotels /restaurants, park/road side and sea sides as toilet (Ghemo, 2005).

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Street Children in Our World. (2019, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from
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