The phenomenon of street children is expanding from time to time. Behind children rural to urban migration laid highly vulnerable families and communities, many struggling to come to terms with economic liberalization and growing inequality. Rural to urban migration can also be traced to a lack of communication in the family and the weakening of social capital. Lack of farm land, crop failure, large family size and lack of employment opportunities are among the major factors that fuel the rural out-migration. Street children in towns and cities are an alarm to the community, signaling the dire need for social development and poverty reduction mechanisms. Social development strategies need to improve the situation in the rural community at large, and to prevent more young people from becoming marginalized. While preventive interventions are essential, those children already facing the hardships of street life need an immediate action for human development via special protection programs.
Center of Concern-Hawassa is trying its level best in providing various services in line with development strategy of the country. A project known as “Child Empowerment and Protection” Project is funded by Goal Ethiopia since 2013. Goal Ethiopia is our strategic partner. The organization has rented a “Child space” called Drop in and Rehabilitation Center or DiRC for short, whereby Street Connected Children and Youth (SCCYs) found on the streets of Hawassa came into the “Child Space” through two ways. One is through street contact and the other is through peer information. Street Contact is one way of inviting SCCYs to the Centre through the day and night lobbying of peer educators. Our child care workers facilitate the peer educators’ effort. The “Child space” provides not any accommodation and feeding services. It rather is a place where they feel comfortable in the day time by having services like bathing and washing their clothes. Furthermore, they spend by playing various out and indoor games and watching TV programs. For more information please visit: www.goalglobal.org.
The Child Transition House, on the other hand, is a different institution based project and it provides accommodation and fulfills all the basic needs for Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC), where they join schools and continue studying in scholarships. Particular attention is given to girls scholarships and Edget Baandnet is our strategic partner in supporting this project since 2010.
The Urban Productive Safety Net (UPSN) Project is supported by the World Bank. The Ethiopian Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA) coordinates and monitors the implementation of the service providers. Center of Concern-Hawassa is one of the service providers recruited by MoLSA to implement the two years long Urban Destitute strand of UPSN project. This institution based project also provides accommodation, feeding, scholastic materials support and schooling for children and youth. Street Connected Children and Youth (SCCY) get the services like- individual and group counseling and guidance, life skills trainings, Non-formal education, primary health education and referral services. After three months of intensive counseling and guidance, the children and youth will reunify with their family of orientation, train on vocational skills and join the job market or join the Income Generating Activity scheme. Through a regular follow-up and support the complete well-being of each and every child is maintained. That in turn means keeping them safe.