The lost childhood of street children in Nepal
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In the present situation of armed and political conflict in Nepal, protection of children is at stake. There is a pressing need in such an environment to address all aspects of children‟s rights in order to be able to reach out to children in crisis. One group of children in crisis are those living on the street. I have often seen street children picking rags, sniffing glue, begging & selling newspapers and the like. These children, living on the streets day and night, have been directly affected by poverty and social exclusion. Even though there are a few child welfare organizations in Nepal trying to address the problems of street children, a large group of these children remain a part of the urban landscape. It seems like the common public response to street children is either sympathy or hostility. They are perceived as victims or criminals. It was within this context that my interest in exploring the lives of street children in Nepal emerged. My goal was to uncover some of the perceptions about the lives of street children from the organizations working with them. Through semi-structured interviews with child welfare workers and observations of some of these children themselves, this study explored a) how agencies indentify street children b) what are the main reasons children become street children c) the risks street children face and d) how individuals and organizations can help guide a positive transition to the life of street children. The following questions will work as a tool to disclose other important answers. For instance, the answers to reasons children come to the street is helpful in developing preventive measures. Similarly, answers to the risk factors that street children face will be effective in designing protective measures for those children who are already on the street.
Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Program of Liberal Studies.