CHILD street to school, NEPAL
The Organization CHILD-Street to School is a registered Non Governmental Organization registered under the Swiss Government. The acronym of CHILD stands for Centre for Health, Intellectual and Learning Development. The philosophy of “Street to School” is to bring the children from streets and educate them through providing knowledge and rehabilitation program.
About CHILD STS
There are over 100 million street children around the world. Cities like Bombay, Bangkok, and Mexico City are examples of the growing problem of street children. Kathmandu is among those cities where urbanization and growth in the last 30 years has been high. Kathmandu, the “living legends”, has been converted to a city of garbage and has become a home for thousands of street children.
The objectives of “CHILD Street to School” are as follows:
- To provide shelter to street children who have either lost their parents through death from illness /accidents /armed conflict and arrests by the government security forces or rebel groups.
- To protect them from various kinds of abuses and exploitations.
- To control them from usage of various kinds of drugs.
- To provide love, health care and other fundamental services which are the rights of all children
- To bring them back to the mainstream of social life through proper formal schooling and by providing vocational training, knowledge and psychological rehabilitation.
- To explore their potential and talents by providing co-curricular activities and bringing them into a better environment.
- Educate them so that they can return home and make a difference in their villages.
- Treat them with compassion and understanding by reforming and developing them into responsible citizens.
Street children live in extremely deprived circumstances and are moderately or severely underweight. Malnutrition can affect all aspects of development. These deprivations may negatively affect not only growth and physical well-being but cognitive and psychosocial development as well. Many street children who cannot afford food replace the meals by sniffing glue trying to forget their feeling of hunger. Those children who take part in schooling and centre activities and recreational programme as well, get a full meal.
In case of health problems and injuries a qualified nurse are treating the street children in the centre and if necessary direct them to hospital. We regularly check the health of the street children and organise prevention treatments like providing them with vitamins.
The classes are not obligatory and every child is free to participate. The classes take place three times a day, so that working children can attend one of the classes. Alphabetisation, basic mathematics and hygiene lessons are an important part of the teaching program for motivated children geography, history, biology, Basic English, as well. Our teachers and social workers educate the children about the culture and society the children live in and explain the rules, their rights and duties. Many children are afraid of the school and also ashamed because they don’t know how to write and read so they are afraid of the reactions of the other children. Our challenge is to take those fears away and to encourage them to attend school.
Prevention classes are very important part of the education program. The life on the street is very risky and dangerous. The street children are unprotected, lot of injustice, maltreatment and abuse happen. They are victims of violence, sexual abuse, drug addiction, unpaid labour, child trafficking, organ trafficking, HIV. Most of the children are ashamed and afraid to talk about such an abuse. In a simple understanding and creative way, according to the different age groups of the children, with help of Medias like theatre, movies, comics and music, our prevention programs try to reach the minds of the children and make them able to recognize specific dangerous situations in daily life. Our social workers and volunteers teach the children how to behave and face such a situation and where to seek for help. Education about consequences of alcohol, drug abuse, unprotected sexual intercourse and HIV are also an important part of the prevention program.
As a result of the pressures of the life on the street, many children experience stress. Severe stressors such as child labour or child abuse can lead to psychological problems. Many street Children have emotional and behavioural difficulties and these are severe enough to interfere with the child’s everyday functioning. Children who grow up constantly surrounded by violence often have trouble concentrating and sleeping. Some become aggressive and some come to take brutality for granted. They have fears, feelings of loneliness, and very low self-esteem. Many do not allow themselves to become attached to other people for more hurt and loss. Our aim is to rebuild the mental health. First of all their self-esteem, because children without self-esteem are easy victims of exploitation and abuse. Our psychologists also encourage the children to express their feelings and dreams. Diagnosis of eventual traumas and mental disorders are an important part of the program. We try to approach the children in a very sensitive way so that they can win trust, open up, and overcome fears and anxieties.
Art therapy allows the children to express their troubled feelings without words. Their drawings will show us their past life, their dreams and fears but also eventual signs of maltreatment and abuse.
Play therapy provides the children the way to express their experiences and feelings. The play therapy helps the child to overcome internal anxieties, aggressions and change disturbing behaviour. The child plays freely while therapist observes, asks questions and makes suggestions.
Music affects children emotions. Music therapy helps the children to express their feelings , to release internal tensions, to open up and finally to relax. Music can also be helpful to increase academic skills of the children.
In case of serious psychological disorders our psychologist supports the child with an individual psychotherapy.