People in a Street Situation

People in a Street Situation

The term ‘street children’ or ‘street family’ is problematic as it can be employed as a stigmatizing label. Aparajeyo considers that persons in a street situation are victims of an intolerable violation of the rights stipulated in the International Instruments, particularly to the rights to a home, identity, protection, food, health, education, and to express oneself. What we are concerned about is not the number of persons found in the street but the quality of their life on the street and away from the street. This is, in fact, a question of the interaction between individuals and social groups. Aparajeyo, therefore, prefers to use the expression "persons in a street situation" since the problem is not the persons themselves but the situation in which he/she finds them. Life on the streets is made up of various constraints affecting people and of her/his survival strategies. The question is, therefore, not “how many” but “what”: for whom, since when, where, how and why living on the street is a problem?



Persons in a street situation are casualties of economic growth, war, poverty, loss of traditional values, domestic violence, physical and mental abuse. Every person has a reason for being on the streets. While some persons are lured by the promise of excitement and freedom, the majority are pushed onto the street by desperation and a realization that they have nowhere else to go. What is obvious is that persons in a street situation are poverty-stricken and their needs and problems are a result of wanting to meet basic needs for survival. Persons in a street situation go through the struggle of providing themselves with basic things such as food, shelter, health and clothing. Providing targeted interventions that meet the needs of people requires an understanding of who they are, what they need, what they do and how they can be identified.



The exact number of persons in a street situation is impossible to quantify, but the figure almost certainly runs into tens of thousands across Bangladesh. 6 out of 10 urban dwellers are expected to be under 18 years of age in 2005. Indeed, every city in Bangladesh has some persons in a street situation, including the capital, industrialized and port cities. A BIDS study through GoB estimates that the number of children in a street situation in Bangladesh to be 445,000 of whom 75% are in Dhaka city. Considering the trend in the ever increasing numbers of these children over the past 10 years, it is estimated that by the year 2020 the number of children in a street situation would exceed 930,000.