About Street Children

It is estimated there are more than 150 million street children in the world. They roam the streets, often begging or stealing, sometimes sifting through piles of garbage for scraps of food, sometimes performing small jobs or collecting discarded items to earn enough to purchase something to eat.

Street children are found in virtually every country, on every continent of the world. They inhabit the streets of every city and town in the developing world.

Children end up on the streets for a variety of reasons. Some are orphans, many as a result of AIDS, with no one to care for them. Most are not orphans, but are victims of poverty and have gone to the streets simply because their families are too poor to feed and care for them. Some have run from their homes to escape cruelty, neglect, or abuse. Some are just rebellious children seeking to avoid the structure, rules, and discipline of living with their families. Still others are sent to the streets by their families to help support the family or in the mistaken belief their children will be able to find a better life.

Regardless of the reasons they are on the streets, these children are constantly exposed to life-threatening dangers and live lives of misery and heartache. They are often targets of police brutality and even of death squads sent to eradicate the “problem.” Frequently they become victims of abuse by older children on the streets.

Street children are society’s outcasts, treated as worthless trash. they are rejected, abused, beaten, and chased away. They have no protection, no standing, no rights, no value. They live lives of hunger, fear, sickness and disease, without hope, without help.

Life for street children in much of the developing world is particularly difficult because there are so few avenues of help available to them. There is no “safety net” available to them. Corrupt governments offer little tangible assistance. Organizations like Agape Children’s Ministry are the primary source of help and hope for these desperate children.

In much of the world there are as many girls on the streets as boys. In Kisumu, there are many more boys than girls on the streets due to tribal traditions that make girls more valuable for the dowry they will bring to the family. However, there are girls living on the streets and they face a┬átreacherous reality which includes a very active sex trade in the city. Currently police pick up girls from the streets and disco clubs and take them to the local Remand┬áCentre. Since early 2011, Agape has been able to reintegrate scores of girls from the Remand Children’s Home but we felt like the Lord was calling us to do more. In September 2012, we were able to open the first residential facility in Kisumu exclusively for street girls. With a high staff to child ratio, we are seeing excellent results as we counsel the girls we’ve been able to rescue while preparing them for reintegration.

We estimate there are currently more than 1,000 children surviving on the streets of Kisumu. Unfortunately, that number appears to be growing on a daily basis. Most of the street boys we encounter range in age from 8 up to 20 and even older. The youngest we have found was four years old. Whether we have space available or not, when we encounter a particularly young boy or a boy who is sick or injured, we immediately bring them to Agape for assistance and medical care. Agape’s boys campus has capacity for 96 boys and has a near daily presence on the streets where we work to meet the street children and pray that they will be willing to give up their addiction to street life.

For more information on street children, we recommend the following documentaries: