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Homeless Kids - From the Streets to Caring Arms

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two beggar girls in Harare
Caption
It is close to impossible to walk around cities here in southern Africa without being approached by a begging child. Dressed in torn up, old clothes, barefoot, and looking up to you with those big, desperate eyes, it is so hard not to hand them the few cents it would take for them to leave you and be on their way. I've watched some kids as they approach people passing by: They approach, often in pairs, and surround the person, walking on both sides. They put on the saddest faces they can muster up and look up at the person with big puppy-dog eyes holding the bowl of change in the person's way.

A blind beggar and his son
Caption

If they don't get money at first, they keep trying. They'll walk next to the person for blocks, speaking softly about how their mother has no job or home, how they are hungry and haven't eaten in days. The frustrated person finally gives in and hands them a few Zimbabwean Dollars (worth about ten American cents) because it's the only thing they can do to make the kids go away, and so they don't feel so bad about how the kids have to live.

What else can a person do?

For more information contact Thuthuka:

Andrew Sexton or Kilton Moyo
Thuthuka Directors
Scripture Union
R.Mugabe Way and 13th Ave
Famona, Bulawayo
Email: thuthuka@acacia.samara.co.zw

The Thuthuka project began here in 1995. Thuthuka is the only project of its kind around here addressing the growing problem of street kids here.

What do you think street kids need most?

First, there are the things we all need like food and shelter. Thuthuka provides a place where children that live in the streets can come to take a shower, receive first aid, or eat a hot meal. But does having a shower or eating a hot meal change their situation?

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Poor but still smiling
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The Thuthuka project takes it one step further and offers classes and counseling as well. It can be hard at first, since most of the kids who live on the streets don't trust strangers, especially adults. Day after day, volunteers from Thuthuka will return to the streets, offering their support and friendship. Once the trust is established, the youth usually choose to visit Thuthuka on their own.

Yeah! Finally, an approach to actually helping the problem of youth living on the streets!

But is this enough to stop the problem? What can be done to stop other kids from ending up on the streets too?

Map

Thuthuka has discovered that poverty, having no money is the main reasons that children drop out of school. So Thuthuka is attempting to offer financial support to the poorest children in schools. This support will go towards buying books and uniforms for the child as an incentive to keep the student in school rather than begging on the streets.

Thuthuka means 'to rise up,' and Thuthuka urges the youth to help themselves, and urges all people to support these kids so they don't have to keep living on the streets.

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