About Street Children
Nepal – Children
Nepal has a population of 23.2 million, with over 50 percent below the age of eighteen. There is no accurate definition for ‘street child’ in Nepal, as this category overlaps with other categories such as children who are trafficked and children involved in exploitative work. Thus the available estimate of 5,000 children living and working on the streets is considered very low, particularly in the face of political insurgency since 1996 that has been driving a greater number of people from the countryside to the urban areas. The response to street children remains ignored or sidelined by the government in Nepal. Government policies and strategies are directed by a centralized development trend; weak implementation; monitoring and evaluation; and lack of strong enforcement of existing laws and regulations. Implemented program include the National Program for Basic and Primary Education, which began in 1992 as a multi-donor project and is currently in its second phase. The Ministry of Education and Sports has prepared the Education for All (EFA) National Plan of Action. Providing education to the rapidly increasing number of street children has become the predominant challenge in Nepal. Likewise, other factors creating barriers to achieving the EFA goal by 2015 include insurgency; centralized educational management; distribution of education facilities; poor quality of education; issues of sustainability, gender equity and equality; needs of diversified client groups; and coordination among all concerned agencies and sectors.
UNICEF Defination of Street Children
UNICEF defines street children as children under 18 years old who spend most of their time on the street. UNICEF also presents three subcategories of street children: street living children, street working children and the children of street living families. Street living children are those who have lost ties with their families and live alone on the street. Street working children are those who spend all or most of their time working on the street to earn income for their families or for themselves (they have a home to return to and do not usually sleep on the street). The children of street living families are those who live with their families on the street.
Nepal – Rights of Children
1. The child shall enjoy all the rights set forth in this Declaration. Every child, without any exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to these rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family.
2. The child shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. In the enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration
Nepal ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child September 14, 1990.
Child Poverty In Nepal
Nearly 1 million children, or about 3.6% of the nation’s population, are orphaned from violence, landslides, floods, or poverty.
The Street Children who choose to live on the streets rather than with their families generally ‘leave home gradually as changes take place in their home environment’. Numbers of Street Children are increasing in urban areas around Nepal and especially in Kathmandu.
The Street Children of Kathmandu are perhaps the most obvious signs of this malaise. This number continues to grow in Kathmandu, with roughly 200 to 300 every year. Children leaving home every year for a variety of reasons, some do so because of abusive, alcoholic parents, maltreatment at home, peer influence, natural disaster and the temptation to earn more money. They are not more than 15 years of age and are generally, always in a group or if not in the group, they are found sleeping in the street. Some of the children belong to the rural areas and they have runaway due to various domestic problems in the village.