April 12th – International Day for Street Children
The International Day for street children was internationally celebrated for the first time on April 12th 2011 by the Consortium for Street Children (GSC), one of the leading international networks for realizing the rights of street children worldwide. The campaign was marked at the National Theatre in London, where photographs of street children were exhibited, and it was celebrated by the street children, NGOs, politicians, celebrities, companies and individuals from around the world.
This year, the street children around the world will have the opportunity to be heard through the celebration of International Day for street children. This year's campaign is titled WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER. This international campaign should provide an opportunity for millions of children around the world to be heard by the governments worldwide. The governments are under oath and should respect the rights of all children in the world, make efforts to engage these children in school with the opening of day centers for street children as a temporary measure until the permanent solution.
All countries have signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Children (except USA and Somalia) and have a legal obligation to work towards the provision of the children's rights and the provisions of the Convention on national legislation. The Convention provides the right of every child for protection, participation and prevention of any harm. It is universally accepted that all children should have these rights, but many governments still have not provided the conditions for inclusion of street children into the society.
The street children have the same rights and have the same potential as all other children. The First Children's Embassy in the World – Megjashi joined the campaign for the governments and the society to join together and advocate for the rights of children worldwide. Being a child of the street is a crime and instead be treated as criminals, the authorities should recognize the reasons for the behavior of street children and provide support.
The Street Children are children who spend their lives under the open sky. Sometimes they are orphans; some of them are suffering from HIV / AIDS or other narcotic addicts, or abandoned by their families living in poverty and are unable to care for them. They are often the subject of trafficking with children where the main goal is to earn through them or to leave them begging, and for sexual exploitation as well, forced labour and they are victims of the organ trafficking chain.In our country there is still no thorough assessment of this phenomenon. According to the estimation of the First Children's Embassy the World – Megjashi, in Macedonia there are about 2,000 children in the streets every day that beg, wash windshields and sell under the open sky. The total number of children who have not started the compulsory education is 18,500 children, and 200,000 adults have failed to complete the primary school. Unfortunately the total number of street children in from 500 to 2000 children who are not recorded in the birth certificate registry.
In Macedonia there are temporary care centers that care for street children. Even though these centres mean a lot to the children, they are not the solution for them. In Skopje, there are four such centers and two that are under the competency of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and two that are managed by NGOs; The Day Care Center "Educational and entertaining day care centre for street children" which is located in Suto Orizari managed by the NGO "Association for protection of children" and the Day Care Centre within the First Children’s Embassy in the World – Megjashi. The purpose is to foster and deflected from the streets and acquire basic hygiene habits, to help them in learning and to spend the day in play and carelessness. Within the centers, in order to meet the children's basic needs the institutions are providing food, clothing, they monitor their health status, provide health insurance, help in the registering process in the birth certificate registry, organize activities for developing children's creativity, organize cultural and entertaining visits and recreational activities, programs for motivating children and their parents to involve the children in the educational process as well as psychosocial support and psychosocial intervention with children and their families.
According to First Children's Embassy in the World – Megjashi, the Day Care centres are not a permanent solution because they operate only few hours a day. What will happen with the children when they leave the centre? They are on the street again. Forced into begging or they are victims of labour abuse. The attempts by the government in order to support this vulnerable group of children with the opening of day care centres for street children is not enough. The ultimate efficient and effective measure to overcome the illiteracy, poverty and abuse of street children and their labor is their enrolment in schools.
The First Children's Embassy in the World – Megjashi finds the solution to this problem by taking a more serious effort by the competent institutions in resolving it. If employment is provided for at least one member of the families that abuse the children and their labour, a modest home and enrolment of the children in education, it will reduce the chain of poverty and illiteracy. It is also needed for the street children to engage in the pre-school education.
If these children would live in a humble home, where their parents would have the minimum funds earned by themselves and if their children are in school, they will have different habits and needs. They will have to meet and fulfil the school obligations. This way does not promise that it will surely reduce poverty and illiteracy, and thus reduce the number of street children, but it is a step forward in breaking that cycle.
The First Children's Embassy in the World – Megjashi will mark the International Day for street children. The children who attend the day centre within the First Children’s Embassy in the World – Megjashi with their own contribution will show how important is the need for every child to have a warm home, parental care, attend school and have all other rights provided for the children in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. On this day in the yard of the First Children’s Embassy in the World - Megjashi at 11 am the children will perform, dance, present their art works, make origami and gymnastic performance and show that they and all other children in the world are the same, with the same potentials and with the same desires and needs.