A street child collects garbage in Katamyia district- Cairo/Egypt Today/Maher ISkander
CAIRO - 26 August 2018: If you walk in the streets of Cairo or spend some time stuck in traffic, you’ll be familiar with the heartbreaking scene of a little child running between cars and chasing people for some coins.
Although security services and government intervention could curb the situation with approximately 600 cases of street children working as beggars per month, the government is unable to totally solve this alone.
Other entities need to help by providing financial support and assistance to those who need it and the media needs to help raise awareness on this growing crisis too.
Although several charity organizations collect money for such purpose, it is not always clear cut or certain that the money reaches those in need.
Hazem M., a young child who probably wouldn’t exceed the sixth grade, was running between speeding cars on the Ring Road, seemingly not fearing death. Once the cars stop, he tries to sell either tissue boxes or car fresheners to get some money.
The boy doesn’t know much about his family but he explained that he collects money, gives it to a lady at the end of the day who gives him a plate of Koshari for his hard work. He then goes to sleep in a small room that the lady rented for them with other street children.
Zizo is another child whose real name is not disclosed and who stays near the Ring Road. Zizo revealed the secret world of street children who suffer from physical abuse, torture and death threats. Some of these children are victims of disintegrated families who did not find refuge except on the streets. Although the Ministry of Social Solidarity provides care, some street children still run away and even resort to stealing and using drugs.
“There are strict instructions from Dr. Ghada Waly [the minister of social solidarity] to transfer street children to care homes so that they are provided education and a decent life,” said spokesman for the homeless children project at the Ministry of Social Solidarity, Hazem al-Mallah.
He said that the launched campaign targeted 16,000 street children and that they have previously succeeded in transferring thousands of kids to care homes that are well equipped with the help of Tahya Masr Fund.
“Our aim is to not have street children in Egypt anymore,” said Mallah.
Security expert Alaa el-din Abdel Majeed said the Ministry of Interior confirms that street children are a threat to public security because they are often exploited and used in crimes such as theft.
Investigating and exerting effort in this regard, the Ministry of Interior reiterated street children are being handled and taken to care homes to receive education and become useful members in society, said the security expert.
In cooperation with the charitable fund of Tahya Masr, the Ministry of Social Solidarity has been implementing a national program to protect homeless children as part of the ministry's efforts to address the issue of street children.