Reaching street children
In this blog, our Head of Communications Emma reflects on how the power of books is helping street-connected children, and the adults who support them, change how their stories end.
Around the world, the United Nations estimates that 150 million children’s lives are inextricably connected with public spaces. These children are commonly called street children – but our partners prefer the term ‘street-connected’ children as it better represents the diversity of challenges these children face.
Some have homes to go back to but rely on the streets for survival, others are homeless. Few go to school, and all are at huge risk of exploitation. Which raises the question, what can a book charity do for them?
Our partners tell us that the opportunity to read for street-connected children has dual benefits. For those who are returning to the classroom, access to a well-stocked school library can help them catch up on lost learning. For children who aren’t yet ready for school, books can be a vital tool to help our partners reintegrate traumatised children back into their communities and prepare them for school.
I have had the huge privilege of visiting the Street Children Empowerment Foundation (SCEF) in Accra, Ghana, twice. SCEF works to help street-connected children reintegrate with their families and communities and to find a route to a positive future.
Social workers at SCEF spend time with the children playing games, doing art and – crucially – in their wonderful library space, which is stocked with brand-new books sent through the generosity of our supporters. The time they spend in the SCEF centre and library is a key part of the children regaining a sense of safety and belonging and plays a crucial role in helping them get ready for classroom learning.
We take pride knowing the power we are giving to these children, enlarging their world and taking them around the world through reading. Together we can bridge the book gap and create the opportunity for all children to achieve their fullest potential.Paul Semeh, SCEF founder
Bridging the book gap is exactly what we aim to do, because we know that books give even the most marginalised children the power to write the next chapter in their own stories. With the support of people like you we have provided tends of thousands of brand-new books to eight partners who focus on street-connected children, and many more who create opportunities to read for out of school children – which often includes street-connected children.
We aim to do more in the years ahead, but we can’t do it without you.
It costs just £2 to send the next brand-new book – or £6 a month to send 36 books a year as a member of our Reverse Book Club. I hope that you’ll consider sharing the power of books with the children who need books most in the years ahead.
During the worst of the Liberian civil war Yvonne set up the WE-CARE library to provide a space for children to read and learn. This is her story.
Gifty is a teacher in rural Ghana. Having the right kind of books empowers her to create the next generation of readers.
Timothy is a small boy with big dreams. Find out why he thinks books are going to help him achieve them.