Sudan: Street Children in Khartoum… ..an Endless Suffering

Khartoum — The phenomenon of homelessness and begging is a frightening phenomenon, which is growing and increasing continuously, and the opening of Sudan’s borders to neighboring countries, the encroachment of tribes neighboring Sudan that live difficult economic conditions in their countries, and the phenomenon of displacement from different regions of Sudan to the capital, has made the capital Khartoum a fertile and suitable environment for this phenomenon.

In addition to the family disintegration that hit social relations in Sudan as a result of the dire economic conditions in the country, which led many to drift towards the street.

The natural conditions of drought and desertification, and man-made ones such as conflicts and armed looting, in addition to unbalanced rural-urban development, increasing poverty rates, and deteriorating economic conditions for many families have exacerbated the problem of child displacement in Sudan, where it has become a phenomenon that requires addressing it, identifying its causes and finding radical remedies.

Most of the displaced children rely on spending the night and sleeping in public places in markets, alleys, buildings under construction, searching for food in landfills and staying inside, and in some periods receiving health care from Social Services employees of organizations and government agencies, but it is not sustainable.

The Secretary General of the National Council for Child Welfare, Dr. Abdul Qader Abdullah Abu, we attribute the phenomenon of renewed homelessness to the high standard of living, the money given to the employee is not commensurate with the requirements of life, on the other hand, the high standard of living itself, the employee may receive a lot of money, but the market is rising exponentially, more than the money given to the employee. Thus, the equation remains dysfunctional, and the imbalance of this equation leads to the disintegration of families and the partial and total displacement of children.

He added that the high amount of money paid to public and non-governmental schools and the lack of an appropriate environment in public schools are all major factors that lead to homelessness.

The Secretary General of the National Council for Childhood called for a symbiotic action involving individuals, communities and official institutions in order to search for children on the streets and identify the causes within the framework of moral social responsibility in order to eliminate the phenomenon.

Abdelgader Abu pointed out that there are statistics, but they are approximate statistics that need to be updated, explaining that the data system should be renewed and modern, adding that this is done only by the concerned experts, the Central Bureau of Statistics and the National Population Council in cooperation with the National Council for Childhood.

For her part, Social Worker, Nadia Sheikh underlined that that unbalanced development in the countryside and family disintegration are all causes that led to the displacement of children, pointing out to several other natural aspects that contributed to the escalation of the phenomenon, such as drought and desertification.

She told (Sudan Now) magazine that displacement appeared at the beginning of the eighties and was in areas where wars and drought were widespread, but it concentrated in Khartoum because it is considered an attractive environment in terms of services unlike the rest of the states.

She considered the outbreak of AIDS in Sudan, one of the reasons for the displacement of children in it, in order to increase the number of orphans whose parents died of AIDS.

Nadia explained that there are organizations that exploit these children to earn money, so these networks bring TokTok early in the morning and come to take them at the end of the day, indicating that children on the streets are exposed to many violations, everyone has to support and help them.

Ikhlas Ahmed, a psychologist, stressed that in adolescence, some children refuse guidance and begin to rebel against social and family controls, and this is overshadowed by a strong desire to be free from restrictions, which is a vulnerability to homelessness if supported by a few friends and unwise care from the family may lead to the displacement of a teenage child.

She added that child abuse and domestic violence are several of the causes that lead to the displacement of children.

According to the children’s law of the year 2010, the homelessness of children is not considered a crime punishable by law, and in case of finding a homeless child, the concerned circles must hand him over to someone who has moral guarantees for his care.

Wasal Khader Ahmed, an employee of the legislation Department, at the National Council for Child Welfare, said that the council made the national policy for street children, and it was approved in a year 2020, then a comprehensive Executive plan was made for all states to work on the ground and all projects were developed to serve street children, but the funding problem stopped these projects.

She added that many homeless people live on begging and carry sacks on their backs to get money. Unfortunately, these funds are being used to buy Silesians.

She pointed out that many children drop out of school and go to work to ask for money, noting that the National Council for Childhood has conducted training workshops for children, especially in the South Kordofan State.

According to UNICEF, 6.9 million children are out of school in Sudan, and 12 million children are at risk of dropping out of school due to the lack of the conducive environment and well-trained teachers.

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