Did you know that there are two categories of street children?

Did you know that there are two categories of street children?

I didn’t know either! 

There is a scientific literature addressing this issue. It distinguishes two types of street children:

1. Those who live their lives on the street.

They live by working, begging or stealing. Especially from strangers! In the evening, however, they return to their parents, who do not live on the street, but in a neighbourhood close to where they live. Some live with abusive parents. Divorced. Harsh. Or orphaned and cared for by extended family.

2. The second category are street children, living and sleeping rough.

On the street. In the street! Night after night! Day after day! Cardboard and blanket is their home. Imagine yourself with them, looking for a place to lie down night after night. The cardboard – the bed they lie on, so they don’t sleep with their backs right on the pavement. The blanket – the quilt that keeps them from the cold and dew of the night. And a nylon. That it often rains in tropical areas of the world.

Some children have parents. But they are poor. They beg day after day. And they sleep on the streets. But most of the children are orphans. Nobody’s. And nobody is interested in them.  Where are they to go? They sleep in the street. They have nowhere to go after a day’s work. Or stealing! Or begging! No address. No identity. No house number. “Where do you live, Baina?” “Opposite the French Embassy. Near the counter.”

This phenomenon of “street children” is very common in urban areas. And Antananarivo, Madagascar’s overcrowded capital, with 4 million people crammed into a small area, is the perfect place for such living. Harsh. Anonymous.

UNESCO records more than 25,000 children living their lives on the city’s streets. They don’t look aggressive, but they can be. They’re generally friendly. But pushy. Insistent. They won’t leave you alone until you give them something. Anything at all. A sandwich, because he’s hungry. A coat, because his clothes are torn. Money, because they can buy anything with it. But not all these 25,000 children are sleeping on the streets. There are almost 2,500 children on the street. They sleep on the street!

In 2004, 873 children were registered by Médecins Sans Frontières in Antananarivo as sleeping on the street, in 6 specific places and 160 sleeping on cardboard or under tents made of material or plastic. But the number has almost tripled.

Through the “Children without identity” project we want to make a difference in the lives of some of them. Together with our partners, the 2400 Smiles Association, we visit the children sleeping in Antaninarenina, in the park, on the street and around the toilets of this public space. When we arrive by medical bus in the Antaninarenina car park, they usually greet us from the two containers they rummage through.

They are waiting for us! And they smell like they’re going to break your nose! But they jump on you to hug you because you thought of them and looked for them.

There’s 40 to 50 kids out there. And on holidays, the number almost doubles. We offer them medical help through the Bethesda Mobile Clinic. Not only them, but also their parents. Some have parents, others are orphans. We also give them hugs. They ask us to hug them. We also offer them our Time, playing with them, encouraging them as they pass their minds in various games. And our partners, the 2400 Smiles Association, organize these games, Bible lessons and provide them with a hot meal. Nourishing. Especially for malnourished children.

We already know them by name. And they know some of us. To help them remember my name, I told them my name was Jackie Chan! That’s how they remember my name: Jackie Chan. Any street kid would remember it. They had a great time. Every time we get to them with the Bethesda Mobile Clinic, they surround me and ask, “What’s your name? Jackie Chan!” “Jackie Chan?” Ha! Ha! Ha! They’re laughing their asses off!

Every day you take the trash to the dumpster, right? Or maybe you dodge it. You send another one of your family, cause it smells bad in there. How do you like the smell of the bins? Repulsive, I believe you! These kids, who smell like garbage, are human! And they’re really nice, if you get past the shabby, torn, and tattered clothes and dirty hands and feet. We love them! That’s why we go to them on Wednesday nights. Every other week.

Would you like to come with me? Would you like me to give them your hug? Would you tell them that God loves them? How important they are, even if their condition is difficult and seemingly hopeless? Do it through me! Through the ministry of the Bethesda Clinic.

❤️Give them your sandwich and your hug NOW! https://misiunemadagascar.ro/prin-sustinere-financiara/

Don’t dwell on it! Act with compassion and love!

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