BY EMMA STONEHOUSE
Prevention of and rescuing children from a life on the street – through families.
Over the last three years, Viva’s partner network in Kampala, CRANE, has rescued and resettled 795 street children into families.
It is estimated that 15,000 children live on the streets of Uganda, almost all experiencing some form of abuse. Exploitation and abuse disproportionately affects children living or working on the streets, and trafficking is on the rise in Uganda. Despite this, these issues remain hidden and ignored by society, due to the prevalent view that street children are part of a wider crime problem.
CRANE works to increase awareness and address the issues faced by street children, as well as work through the Church to take children off the streets and into families.
CRANE trains and gives long-term support to adoptive families, through the Church. Through these families, children who were once devalued and outcast by society are able to grow into their God given potential, in a supportive environment without fear of abuse or exploitation.
Through CRANE’s involvement and leadership in community events, they increase the visibility of the challenges faced by street children and are able to construct ways to alleviate them.
In May, African’s Rising Day brought together NGOs, including CRANE, government officials, civil society organisations and the police to talk about Slavery and Human Trafficking, and form recommendations for government.
“I got confidence and now I can speak”
Sixteen young people a day are forced onto the streets of Kampala, CRANE also works to prevent children needing to resort to life on the street.
Violence against children is a common cause of family separation and, consequently, children living on the streets. Three in four adolescents say that they have faced some form of violence in their childhood.
The empowerment and education of children about their rights and those of their peers can have a major impact in preventing and changing attitudes concerning violence against children. This training is carried out through CRANE’s Child Ambassadors programme.
Through this education, they are given confidence and tools to speak out against injustices, and prevent them from occurring. Brenda, a Child Ambassador in Uganda, is testament to the impact of this training.
She said: “Before becoming a Child Ambassador, I used to see children being mistreated in our neighbourhood but I did not know how to help them. After the training on confidence and fighting for other children’s rights, I got confidence and now I can speak.”
CRANE has trained 946 Child and Youth Ambassadors who are now actively involved in advocating for their, and other children’s, rights.
Through the projects, which CRANE has implemented, there has been a great transformation for many children living on the streets and the wider communities.
We would love you to partner with the work of CRANE in prayer for this network. Please pray for:
- The training of more adoptive parents through churches, so that a greater number of children can go into protective and supportive homes.
- More children like Brenda to become aware of their rights, and courage as they continue to champion their rights those of their peers.
- A continued community response to trafficking and exploitation, and other issues affecting street children.
Emma Stonehouse is a summer intern at Viva’s office. She is a second year student at the University of East Anglia, studying a degree in Politics and International Relations.