Life on the street
There are an estimated
100 million children
living on the streets in the world today...
Most of us have heard about them or perhaps seen them on the news.
Sometimes the needs are so enormous and the conditions so difficult that we can tend to feel overwhelmed.
Where do these kids come from?
What happened to drive
them to the streets?
What could possibly make
a difference in their lives?
They begin as victims in their own homes of neglect,
physical abuse, sexual abuse, or extreme poverty.
The children living in these homes often begin to drift away from their families, spending more and more time each day on the street until, eventually, they are actually living there. Sometimes a child is kicked out of his home abruptly because of a sudden change in family dynamics, the death of a family member, or rejection by stepfathers.
In some cases, it is safer for them to live on the streets than to live at home.
Eventually, he leaves for the streets in hopes of escaping his problems only to exchange them for others, such as sexual exploitation and crime.
A child's life on the street is desperately lonely, even when he is surrounded by people. He lives life on the fringes, frequently high on whatever inhalants or drugs he can find to relieve his hunger, to feel warm in the cold, to deal with his feelings of fear and despair, and escape from the harsh reality of his life.
These children work hard each day to survive.
Most nights, they will sleep on the cold concrete sidewalk, sewer tunnels, rooftops, or parking garages. These children are exposed to violence and illegal behaviors every day. Gangs or local authorities may beat them if they are spotted. They are forced to struggle for the rest of their lives on their own without any government or parental help.
How We Reach The Kids
Unfortunately, most Third World cities don't have adequate youth shelters or other infrastructure in places where kids like these can go. The only hope these kids have is survival. Their only dream is to not go hungry, and their only chance is that someone, somewhere, will help them.
God wants to penetrate the lives of the kids on the street. He wants us to love the unloved. Our passion is to enter the abandoned areas of the cities and shine a ray of hope into the lives of the children who are living alone and desolate on the street.
We make an effort to go to them and meet them right where they're at. Dirty, hungry, even drugged. It is essential that we love them as they are. This allows us to establish trust and relationships with the kids right from the start. Our ongoing contact with the kids still on the streets varies depending on the participation of national volunteers, trained and prepared, to effectively reach out in love to them. Our desire is to consistently have caring people committed to spending time with these boys, developing healthy relationships with them by listening, caring, and help them in their situations.
Reaching this goal requires the involvement of believers in local churches with a heart for reaching these children. It takes a deep conviction that they are valuable in God's eyes and are ready to the commitment to invest the necessary time and resources. It takes time to break through the walls of mistrust and earn the right to be heard by these kids. Committing our time to them demonstrates our commitment to them. This offers a solution to the boys for their loneliness and despair. We are striving to develop this vital area of the ministry of Niños de la Luz.