The child-rights organisation South African Missing and Exploited Children estimates that 60 000 children live on South Africa’s streets. According to its statistics, about 1 000 children are murdered in South Africa every year, 24 000 child sexual abuse cases are reported annually and 1 500 children disappear. This is a problem.
“I won’t be able to leave the streets on my own. “
A powerful sentiment shared by street children globally, International Day for Street Children is recognized annually on April 12th. Aimed to bring awareness to street children, the international campaign gives the voiceless children a platform to be heard with a four-step message for governments around the world, developed by the United Nations. They ask that governments commit to equality, provide access to services, protect every child, and create new solutions to deliver specialized services and opportunities that attest to the unique challenges street children face. At forgood, we saw this day as an opportunity to influence change in the capacity we are capable.
Recognizing the position we are in to make a difference, we decided to host an event where we invited a Cause that works with street children to assemble, together, a kit for their kids. This was our first event like this that we took off the platform and like any volunteering Opportunity, required a bit of planning.
One of the first steps in our process was trying to identify which Cause we could work with in the capacity that we were able. We have Causes who focus on helping these children who live on the streets without shelter, food, or any kind of education. They survive on their own – at the mercy of their surroundings. Some of our Causes remove the children from the streets and try to give them a better life. Using the platform, we found The Character Company, a Cause that mentors young boys. They pointed us towards a perfect Cause we could work with that they know could use some help – the Jabulani Khakibos Kids, a charity children’s home dedicated to positively impacting the lives of street kids.
Our next step was to figure out what the Jabulani Khakibos Kids needed. When it comes to street children, they often don’t get to have meals with meat, so hamburgers were the suggested food option that we decided to hand-patty and grill for them. The children also rarely get sweets, so we put together a little bag of sweet treats and a fruit juice to wash it all down! We also didn’t only want to provide them with a meal – we wanted to give them something that they could use. What they needed was stationary, a face cloth, a reusable plate, and some Vaseline for dry lips, especially in this winter weather. What makes this step important is that it wasn’t up to us to tell a Cause what we think they need – THEY needed to tell us what they need. This is what makes the forgood platform so amazing! It’s a compilation of Opportunities created by the Causes themselves.
Our third step was how to go about the day. We invited some of our top rated Volunteers to help us prepare the meals and the hampers for the children. We also invited both the Character Company and the Jabulani Khakibos Kids to be apart of the big day. Lastly, we made sure that the entire forgood team was there to be part of the big event. With everyone on board, we had the perfect team that did such an amazing job packing everything together for the kids.
The International Day for Street Children event was altogether a fantastic experience. We were able to use our Cause network to find more Causes to grow the platform. Practicing what we preach, we let the Cause tell us what they needed for their children. As a team, we worked together to prepare said needs by making hearty meals and assembling loaded hampers for 40 street children in need. Lastly, we learned so much more about the plight of street children and the unique struggles they endure.
To give everyone who hasn’t already taken the opportunity to take part in helping street children, we have our Campaign running until the end of April. Check it out and get involved, today!