BRINGING KIDS BACK TO WHERE THEY BELONG
The streets of Yangon are home to many children and youths. Some see themselves forced to get their daily food by stealing, begging or committing small crimes. Often children are used by their parents in order to steal or beg; others are sent away from their families and left alone on the streets. Especially since Myanmar’s opening up towards an increasing number of international guests, destitute children in the streets between golden pagodas are not the ideal representation of Myanmar. Begging and sleeping on the street has been made illegal and the police stations get filled up with children and youth captured by the police.
One of these police stations is visited once a week by our social workers who closely cooperate with the authorities to facilitate the return of children to their families. Newcomers are registered, families are found and visited, necessary documents are taken care of and financed. Following this, the children will be reunited with their families as soon as possible. A specialist for family integration takes care firstly of the family reunion and then conducts discussions with the families in order to become aware of the inital problems which resultet in the imprisonment. In the weekly visit we also provide sports and games for the children to compensate for their dreary prison day.
Through this activity children in prison who were caught innocently by the police can be freed as quickly as possible and brought together with their families. This prevents them from staying too long in a very dangerous environment, away from their family and, in some cases, absent from their school visits – which would most likely have a negative impact on their childhood and personal development.
Project start: January 2015
Project objective: social work at the police station, family reunification.
Project location: Yangon Region
Number of beneficiaries: annually up to 100 street children (4-14 years) can be freed and reunited with their families or care persons
Future plan: Provision of an integration program into rehabilitation facilitations for those children who can be freed but are without parents or can’t return to their homes. Establish a good follow-up structure to prevent re-incarceration.