There are an estimated 100 million children living in the streets in the world today. Most of us have heard about them or perhaps seen them on the news, and sometimes the needs are so enormous and the conditions so difficult that we can have the tendency 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?

Street Life

lifeonthestreet01They 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 a stepfather. 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.

three boys for webThe life of a child 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.   Click here to read “Portrait of a Street Kid

How We Reach Them

howWeReachUnfortunately, most third world cities do not have adequate youth shelters or other infrastructure in place 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 these kids on the streets. 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 children, living alone and desolate on the street.

Making an effort to go to them, to meet them right where they’re at, dirty, hungry, even drugged is essential in communicating that we love them as they are and allows us to establish trust and relationship with the kids right from the start.Our ongoing contact with children still living on the street varies, depending on the participation of groups 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, listening to, caring for and helping them in their situations.

Reaching this goal requires the involvement of believers in local churches with a heart for reaching these children, a deep conviction that they are valuable in God’s eyes, and a 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 so that we can offer 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.