Street children struggle to be heard. Their needs are often ignored. They are vilified, marginalised and face many injustices. Help us speak out to right these wrongs and give street children a fighting chance.
In the future Laughter Africa plans to support many campaigns. These campaigns may be particularly relevant to the country where we are working or may be related to an issue that affects street children. For instance, it could be a campaign about gender based violence, child combatants or police brutality. This list could go on and on as so many different issues affect street children. We may promote other campaigns about street children in other continents including Asia and Latin America.
When we see injustice we won’t be silenced. No matter the issue. No matter the consequence. We will speak out. Together we can help change street children’s lives for good.
Current campaigns we are supporting:
International Day of the Street Child
Every year on 12th April, we celebrate the International day of the Street Child with our friends from the Consortium for Street Children (CSC) and other street children organisations. The day provides a platform for the millions of street children around the world – and their champions – to speak out so that their rights cannot be ignored.
Each year there is a different theme. The theme for the 2020 campaign is Safe Spaces – an issue that has become even more pressing as street children around the world struggle to figure out what curfews and lockdowns mean for them. For many, drop-in centres and shelters that they relied on are closing down, the streets are being heavily policed to enforce curfews, and for those who have homes that they can return to, it may mean returning to an unsafe environment where they are subjected to violence and abuse. Safe spaces for street children are more important now than ever during coronavirus. We are calling on governments to ensure that there are #SafeSpacesForStreetChildren, particularly as measures are taken to stem the spread of Coronavirus during lockdowns. We are calling on governments around the world to make sure street children have access to safe spaces and feel protected.
Between April 8th and 15th, organisations around the world will be recognising International Day for Street Children. This year marks an unprecedented need to call for safety for street children. In the face of lockdowns and curfews, street children around the world are struggling to get money to buy food, are being rounded up into crowded detention centres, losing access to shelters and drop-in centres and losing access to trusted adults as street outreach work becomes more difficult.
We need a global effort to make sure street children are not overlooked in plans to tackle Coronavirus. We want to use International Day for Street Children this year to highlight the lack of safe spaces for street children during Coronavirus, and to call on Governments around the world to provide shelter, essential services and information during this terrifying time. Join the movement by spreading the word about the International Day for Street Children on all your social media channels and platforms. We are demanding;
•Safe spaces to self-isolate.
Street children lack safe places to go during lockdowns and curfews. Governments must make sure they can access somewhere to safely self-isolate, in collaboration with NGOs already offering shelter. This means providing shelter and alternative accommodation during lockdowns or curfews. Governments must also ensure that lockdown measures do not punish or discriminate street children who have nowhere else to go.
•Access to essential services.
Street children will be increasingly vulnerable during the pandemic. Many will be unable to access food, water, healthcare and sanitation. Governments must include them in schemes and emergency
funding, including specific provisions such as hand washing stations, food outreach programmes and allowing social workers to continue street outreach work during lockdowns.
•Access to vital information.
Street children often lack access to accurate and appropriate information on how to stay safe and what to do or where to go when they need care and support. Governments must provide information and advice that is easy to access and understand for street children, including those with limited or no ability to read.
Join us as we celebrate the International Day for Street Children, as we stand with street children to demand their safety. This year all the campaigning will be carried out digitally so please can you spread the message via social media. Why not post a photo of yourself holding a placard on Instragram, twitter or facebook? Remember to use the hashtags: #SafeSpacesForStreetChildren, #streetchildrenday, #COVID19. The more people we can reach out to the better. Our friends at the Consortium for Street children have written a social media pack with lots of helpful suggestions here . There are also some other resources for social media messaging here.
Another way you can get involved is by contacting your Government and tell them what they can do to make sure that street children are considered in public health responses to COVID-19, and that they are not punished for having nowhere to go to safely self-isolate. We are calling on governments around the world to make sure that they are thinking about the safety and needs of street children while responding to the pandemic. Highlighting their vulnerabilities is more important now than ever. Whatever your nationality, you can take action and contact your government to demand that they consider their safety during a time when they are even more vulnerable. Please visit here for help writing the letter to your Government.
If you are at a loose end during the lockdown and have nothing else to do, please consider taking part. We need all the help we can get and it won’t take you much time. Maybe you are home schooling your children- this would be a great topic to cover with them. They can make posters and banners too!
Please visit here for more information about the day.
Our friends at the Consortium for Street Children have made some fantastic resources so please visit their website to download all you need to start celebrating the International Day of the Street Child.
CSC’s global campaign to implement the UN General Comment No21 on Children in Street situations
2018 saw the launch of the new CSC’s global campaign to implement the UN General Comment No21 on Children in Street Situations. The General Comment was published by the UN in late 2017 and, for the first time, acknowledges that governments must pay special attention to ensure street children are able to access their rights, and sets out comprehensive guidance in order to do so. You can read the General Comment here.
We believe in the power and potential of the General Comment. It is an excellent guide for governments all over the world because it is based on the Child Rights Convention and takes into consideration the demands and needs of street-connected children. It puts forward recommendations that speaks to their unique circumstances. We know that if governments were to implement it in its entirety, the world WOULD change for street-connected children. Equality would be achieved – street connected children would have protection in law, access to services and personal dignity. Children everywhere would be equally treated.
To make this a reality for street-connected children, we are calling on all governments to invest time and money into implementing the General Comment. And for that we need your help. You can write to your government demanding that they implement General Comment No21 in their country. The CSC believe that Governments around the world should follow the ‘four steps to equality’ to drive forward the necessary changes for street children around the world.We can use these steps to engage with governments in our calls for implementation. The steps are:
You can take part in this campaign anytime throughout the year. This campaign will be ongoing and we know that it’s not going to happen overnight. It will take years for Governments around the world to adopt the General Comment. The CSC published an Advocacy and Action Guide which has lots of ideas and provides practical tools that you can use in your strategies to promote implementation of the General Comment at local and national levels.We have a long journey ahead of us but it will be worth it. The time to get going is now. Equality for street children starts here.Let’s make it happen.
Here are some other ways you can campaign for street children:
Contact your MP
MPs have a vital role in standing up for the rights of street children around the world. Politicians in the UK can have a massive influence – not just at home, but also on the international stage like the UN, EU, and G8 – and it’s their job to represent you. We need to remind our MPs how much their constituents care about street children’s rights and ensure that street children’s rights around the world are protected.
Click here to find your MP. You could visit them in person during their surgeries, write them a letter or email or even arrange a media stunt which your MP could attend. You can also find out more information about your MP here including their activities and voting records in Parliament.
Share our online petitions via social media with your friends and family and encourage them to sign too.
However you chose to take action – THANK YOU!