Street children in kathmandu

Chapter 1 Introduction

1. 1Background

There are estimated to be around 120 million children living on the streets in the world (30 million in Africa, 30 million in Asia, and 60 million in South America). Often victims of all kinds of abuse, these children still have rights. Street children are minors who live and survive on the streets . The phenomenon of street children is multifaceted. It is therefore very difficult to single out one or more causes. Street children are the reality world-wide and in Kathmandu valley alone, the numbers of street children are estimated roughly 1200 . The vast majority of these children are illiterate boys aged between 10 and 18. They live; sleep and work under the open sky and survive withoutfamilysupport.

They are living with friends and peers, working as beggars and rag pickers. The reason for why children end up homeless in street is Socio-economic conditions in villages, familyviolence, peer influence, attraction towards the city, and political instability etc. When the children pass through with stepmothers, family conflicts, poverty, lack of awareness and orphanages some children left home in search of better opportunities in the big cities and end up in street when they find same peer group who gave up theirdreamsand started living on street. For survival they beg at first and when it is insufficient then they turn into criminal and began to steal. They pull themselves to Glue sniffing to cut out hunger which is cheaper than other drugs andfood.

In this way they started it to play as a toy which made them criminals, thieves, divided into group, made a hierarchy between them which leads gang fight andleadership. For earning some sell labor and victim to all types of exploitation and abuse including sex. At this time some suffer from diseases or illness by theirdrug abuseand hunger.

Those organizations who were working on street children rescue the children, the children started normal life but due to the drug abusing habit and lack of freedom they pull themselves again on street and start living as previous life using the ‘ brain killing’ substance. In this way street children end up their life by sexual disease or illness or by hunger and those who were rescued live life as a civilize citizen with a bitter remembrance of past. 75% of street boys in Kathmandu are victims of sexual abuse at the hands of foreigners, locals and their peers.

The children living or working on the streets in hazardous conditions, poorhealth, poor opportunities, lack of supervision or adequate care and vulnerability and victims to all types of exploitation and abuse including ongoing sexual abuse by adults, peers and physical and mental abuse by people in positions of authority. It is estimated that 75% of street boys suffer ongoing sexual abuse. Glue sniffing is prevalent in children as young as five to stave hunger and encouraged by peers. It is highly addictive and has frequent devastating consequences. Other children and young people suffer with alcohol and drug issues such as the use of injecting ‘ brown sugar’. Children on the street are living in groups- small gangs following their own rules with their own way of thinking and own way of living. Marginalized by society they create their own system with their own power relations, hierarchy and values.

As collector of rag pickers, beggars, street vendors, tempo conductors they don’t have positive experiences or a positive image of the general public. They are considered as social parasites, petty criminals, drug abusers and thieves. The vulgar language, dirty clothes and refusal of many social constraints makes the public assume them to be antisocial beings. On the other hand the children themselves feel that they have no other choice but to behave differently.

Rejection from the society drives them to deny society and its rules. In spite of their young age, they are exposed to some of the worst forms of exploitation and forced to experience social exclusion day after day. We all know the fact that the street is not a safe place to live, particularly for the children. Different kinds of risks are prevalent on the street.

Traffic accidents, violence, crime, gang fights and demonstrations are very common. There are increasing number of crimes against children such as sexual abuse, commercial sexual exploitation, labor exploitation, and use of children for criminal activities. Likewise, exposure to drug use, alcoholism and unsafe sexual activities has put their survival at risk. Many of the street children were rescued by various organizations but due to drug abusing habit and lack of freedom they pull themselves on street and again continue their life as street children.

1. 2 Problem Statement

Due to the situation and the want of children they end up their home
and started living in street for enjoyment and betterment of life but they fell on many problem. The following are the problems facing by street children’s in Kathmandu:

1. 2. 1 Glue Sniffing

More than 80% street children are addicted to glue sniffing, which is the current trend among street children. It is cheap among other drug and easily available. It feel Confessed that they felt relax and playful, sleepy, without pain and hunger. 1. 2. 2Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is hidden but a widely prevalent suffering among them. No child is safe and away from this cauldron of suffering. Approximately 99 per cent of them are physically and psychologically abused. Child sexual abuse may include fondling a child’s genitals, masturbation, oral-genital contact, digital penetration, and vaginal and anal intercourse. The other ways a child can be abused with are direct physical contact, such as sex by exposures, voyeurism and child pornography, use of obscene language, also referred to as non-contact abuse.

1. 2. 3 Exploitation

Children living or working on the streets in hazardous conditions, poor health, poor opportunities , lack of supervision or adequate care and vulnerability and victims to all types of exploitation and abuse including ongoing sexual abuse by adults, peers and physical and mental abuse by people in positions of authority.

1. 2. 4 Struggling with AIDS

It is well documented that street-based children share anenvironmentand practices that make them vulnerable to HIV infection. Furthermore, two independent tests conducted by an NGO in Kathmandu identified the existence of HIV infection among this sub-population. In these tests, 25 out of 80 (31 percent) street children were HIV positive, and 16 out of 32 (50 percent) “ high-risk” street children were HIV positive.

1. 2. 5 Nepalese mentality to street children

As the street children are rag pickers, beggars, street vendors, tempo conductors they don’t have positive experiences or a positive image of the general public. They are what people call ” Khate”, a word, which once
described rag pickers only but which is now used for calling all those who work, live and sleep on the street. They are considered as social parasites, petty criminals, drug abusers and thieves.

1. 2. 6 Trafficking

Most of the street children are victim of trafficking . Many girls are trafficking into India and other countries for sex workers where as boys are trafficking for labor work.

1. 2. 7 Begging

Most of the children beg for earningmoney. The money collected by begging used for food and for drug. Begging is the daily occupation of about one hundred children in Nepal. It is physically easier for these children because they are not steeped in garbage and fumes. Yet beggars suffer more from social isolation. Begging destroys any feelings of self esteem, which makes the children dangerously undervalue themselves.

1. 2. 8 Lack of Basic needs (Food, Shelter and Clothing)

Due to the lack of money and drug using habit street children suffer a lot for food, shelter and clothing.

1. 3 Objective

The specific objectives of the study are mentioned below:
1. To know the problem facing by street children of Kathmandu.
2. To know how children came to live and work on street.
3. To know about the current provision and act regarding child right.
4. To know about the Glue Sniffing by Street Children in the Kathmandu.


2. 1Problem Face by street children
2. 1. 1 Psychological and Physical Abuse

Perhaps the greatest risk faced by children living on street over which they have little or no control is their vulnerability to abuse. In particular street children face daily physical and psychosocial abuse which is so normalize d that the children themselves no longer question this situation. Psychosocial abuse encompasses all abuse which affects the child mentality or emotionally . The most important determining factor for the future of children on the street is the environment on which they spend the majority of their time. While they may visit organizations and have contact with social workers, family or other relatives, the reality is the most of their time is spent with peer and with adults in the street environment.

For children and adolescent, groups and gangs often play the most significant role in their socialization process of identity formation. At this time children are exposed to many risk behaviors which become normalized for them, while society may look at many issues related to drugs and criminality in term of legal framework this often has little relevance for street children. On the margins of society, many children’s experience of state and society is through encounter with the police. Arrested for no reason, without recognition of their inherent rights and abused by state body children are given littlemotivationto participate in society.

2. 1. 2 Sexual Abuses

Child sexual abuse may include fondling a child’s genitals, masturbation, oral-genital contact, digital penetration, and vaginal and intercourse. These area ways in which a child can be abused with direct physical contact. Children can also be abused without physical contact, such as by exposure, voyeurism (getting sexual pleasure from watching naked children) and child pornography, use of obscene language; also refer to as non-contact abuse. Children living in street are found to be at higher risk of being sexually exploited. Both boys and girls are vulnerable to sexual abuse. The conflict situation of the country has made the children, more vulnerable to trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation many case of physical and mental abuse, exploitation and torture faced by the children are not reported out of hesitation and are often oppressed due to pressure and power.

However there has been a rise in publishing of case onchild abuseand exploitation. It reflects to the increasing concern of public towards child right. Studies on whom commits child sexual abuse differ in their findings but the most common finding is that majority of sexual offenders are family members or are otherwise known to the child. Research shows that men commit most instances of sexual abuse, but there are cases in which women are the offenders. Long term studies shows that children who are victims of child sexual abuse are most likely to be the perpetrators of rape, sexual abuse or to be involved in physically abusive relationship. This trend is strong especially among street children.


Anil’s story, age 14 (name changed)-Anil’s family was not poor but when he was 11 years old his parents began to quarrel often and one day his mother committedsuicide. Within in a year his father fell down a well and also died and so Anil became orphan. Anil’s brother worked as a bus conductor and many of his friends lived on or near the street and so he too started to live on the street. Anil began to develop difficult behavior, including substance abuse, and was arrested by the police many times. In the street he would be beaten by the public, street adults and others.

Anil develop a very negative self-image and although he wanted to return home after some time he looked himself as ‘ Khate’ and was scared to go home to his sister. Anil realized street life is not good for his future but he also realizes that he cannot stay for a long time at home because he has become accustomed to the freedom of street life. He is now staying in CPCS and trying to slowly improve his behavior so that one day he will be able to stay at home.

2. 2 State provision and act for the rights of children:
According the Interim Constitution of Nepal (2063)

Part 3 – Fundamental Rights

Rights of children

(1) Every child shall have the right to his or her own identity and name. (2) Every child shall have the right to be nurtured, to basic health and social security. (3) Every child shall have the right not to be subjected to physical, mental or any other form of exploitation. Any such act of exploitation shall be punishable by law and any child so treated shall be compensated as determined by law. (4) Helpless, orphaned or mentally retarded children, children who are victims of conflict or displaced and street children at risk shall have the right to receive special privileges from the State to ensure their secure future. (5) No minor shall be employed in factories, mines or in any other hazardous work nor shall be used in army, police or in conflicts. 2. 3Why children live and work on street

The arrival of a child on the streets may represent an active decision on the part of the child, often in response to situations of serious rights violations at home. In context of Nepal rural area cover more than of urban area, so mostly the children came to the city with a dream for the betterment of life due to family conflict, peer influenced etc… but due to lack of proper employment and guidance the children are compelled to make the street as shelter.

Many of the underprivileged and abandoned street children come from several remote parts of the country and they ran away from their home due todomestic violenceand poverty. However there remain so many causes that bring children on the street. Some common cause are family breakdown, poverty, urbanization and overcrowding, dislocation through migration andcivil war, child labor, lost of family members, exploitation by adults, emotional abuse or neglect. For earning street children are engaged in begging on the street, trash picking, pick pocketing, rag picking, working in bars, restaurants and tempo buses even some children are engaged in prostitution.

How children end up homeless on the streets of Kathmandu

•41% of children leave home due to family violence
•27% due to peer influence
•19% due to economic factors
•15% due to disintegration of the family

2. 4 Glue Sniffing by Street Children

Those who might think these street kids are ignorant are wrong. They are actually inventors – innovators of a cheap substitute for intoxication, which is easily available in the market, sold in both drug stores and hardware stores. It is none other than a sticky adhesive gluten substance commonly known as dendrite solution. Most street children are now taking glue every day and quite frequently. The glue is a ” shoe glue”, used by all shoe repairmen, and many garment or other product makers.

In Nepal, it is usually found in “ hardware” shops, but can also be found in stationeries, or even bought from local street vendors, junkyards, etc… meaning that it is readily available at every corner, and at nearly any time of the day and night. Though there exists many ways to inhale the glue solvent, Nepali street children use it mostly by dropping a certain quantity of glue inside a small plastic bag (milk bag), and by taking long deep breaths from the bag, a technique usually referred to as “ bagging”.


3. 1 Secondary data:

In this method different secondary source were used. They were: Newspaper
Internet Source


4. 1Analysis and interpretation

Street children represent a phenomenon which appeal to people’s feelings and awake their sympathy. The hardship of street life should not be underestimated; neither should it be of paramount interest in all coverage of street children. It is important not to neglect the abilities and resources street children possess.

As a social work student it is becomes a primeresponsibilityto analyze and interpret the issue from several dimensions. Analyzing this paper Kathmandu’s street children is being exploited and abused in various ways. As we know the fact that the street is not safe place to live, many street children are compelled to survive in such palaces without proper food, cloth and shelter. Viewing the street children’s condition the following can be consider as the main problems: Living or working on the street in hazardous condition

Victim to all type of exploitation and abuse include ongoing sexual abuse Glue sniffing
Low life expectancy
poor health
Involve in criminal activities etc…

Objective# 1 Analysis

Although there are various organizations working to reduce the exploitation and abuse of street children but the rate of children and abuse seem to be uncontrolled. There are many children who have been reintegrating by various NGOS and INGOS but the numbers of street children are similar due to the newly added children and the some older who again end up in street after the rescue due to the lack of freedom they want in their foster home. While reviewing the problem of street children it was found that the problems emerge from the family and form the society as well. Children who are orphans and poor came to live on street and they are compelled to face mental and physical problems.

Objective# 2 Analysis

Illiteracy and poverty are factor, especially in rural areas, which result in lack of awareness. Families gave birth to the many children and unable to fulfill their basic needs such as food, clothing, home andeducation. These issues often force the children to suffer from exploitation. For these reasons they are bound to roam in the street to survive. But the society has given them a nick name anddiscriminationagainst them. For living, most of the children collect rags such as garbage, plastics, bottles, metals and paper found in garbage of residential area, around market and along river banks and in dumping sides.

They sell their rags to local junkyard to make their day to day living. Some beg to survive while other has no set work taking occasional jobs as porter or dish washer or dawn into criminal activities such as shoplifting and pick-pocketing. We analyze street children are the integral part of the urban problem, which is directly linked with the growing issues of migration and poverty. As we have observed last 10 years, the problem of street children has increased with grown of urbanization. Therefore, if this problem is to properly overcome, no urban development orchild developmentprogram should forget to cover these children. As we analyze the livelihood of street children they are compelled to live in hazardous place with physical and mental exploitation.

Objective# 3 Analysis

There is various state provision and laws to ensure street children but the problems and street children are same due to the lack of implementation of such provision by government. Due to the lack of negligence toward street children by government our societies also exploits the children mentally and physically. The following are the problems faced by children due to the worthless policy of street children:

Child labor

The problem of child abuse in Nepal is made worse by a gap in Nepalese legislation which does not recognize sexual abuse of boys. The problem, legally, simply does not exist. The children have slipped through a fractured safety net in Nepalese society that’s a living tragedy and a dramatic future problem that many choose to ignore.

Objective# 4 Analysis

Almost all street children were addicted to glue sniffing because of hunger and the influence of friends. About 95 percent of street children were using glue, and it would not take much to introduce the habit to the remaining 5 percent, it said. Glue sniffing is the most dangerous addiction suffering by street children. Mostly the children were addicted, because the sniffing of glue made them confident to commit criminal activities and to avoid hunger. Most of the children beg money to purchase the glue.


5. 1 Area of social work intervention:

Whenever there emerges a social problem in a society, the professional social workers and social work students should take their initiatives to tackle that crisis. In case of ensuring street children with their right social worker should take the various intervention techniques to uplift the status of street children.

1. Support a protective environment in the street and children workplace
2. Establishing a referral system with local organizations which provide different services like legal aid, health care, drugs rehabilitation, and awareness campaign.
3. Pressurizing government for the effective monitoring regarding the wrong practice still prevailed in Nepalese society.
4. Helping government to create sound public policies, a holistic approach and long-term commitment.
5. Improving co-ordination amongst donors and support for street children organizing at the national and global level.
6. Children experience barriers in almost every aspect of work. Employment opportunities Need to be improved. At the same time children perform the bulk of unpaid care work. This is an area for greater attention.
7. Advocating on behalf of children’s for ensuring and safeguarding their right.
8. Advocacy efforts should be strengthened by coordination and collaboration between civil society organizations.
9. Develop children as the main actors in realizing the rights of street involved children through their active participation and building their resilience and capacity to protect themselves Chapter 6 Conclusion

6. 1 Conclusion

Look into a child’s eyes and you are sure to see a sweet innocence that makes us all smile and want to cherish. It’s a universal feeling we all share no matter our race, creed or religion. But it is difficult when you look into a child’s eyes and see pain, loss, suffering, hate and something dark. Something so woeful in their eyes that make us looks away out of fear along with guilt for not questioning why they are like that. The majority of street children share background of family poverty, lack of education opportunities, and broken families. Without family love and guidance, street children face a very hard life in streets. They are vulnerable to all kind of abuse, exploitation and exposure to criminal activities that are the hazards of the urban street life.

There are many activities established to promote child’s right and prevent child exploitation but they have not been fully successful in increasing awareness and improving the situation of children. The life of all street children’s is passing from same problems though various NGOS and INGOS are still working for it. The street is not safe for the children to live. Different kinds of risk are prevalent on the street. Traffic accidents, violence, crime, gang fights and demonstration are very common. There are increasing number of crime such as sexual abuse, labor exploitation and use of children for criminal activities. Likewise exposure for drug use, alcoholism, and unsafe sexual activities has put their survival at risk. Many of street children were rescued by various organizations but due to drug abusing and lack of freedom they want they again pull themselves on street and again continue their life as street children.

Chapter 7 Recommendations

Nationalchild protectionand child welfare systems that are sensitive to the rights of street children to care and protection are needed, and should be adequately funded to operate effectively. All actors within these systems (police, judiciary, health staff and social workers) need to be trained on the rights of street involved children and how to treat them in non-violent ways. Civil society organizations need to support community responses to child protection and children’s participation, and facilitate their linkage with national child protection systems. Government and civil society organizations should collaborate on the establishment of standards and good practices for government and non-government agencies that work with street involved children. Programmers need to be based on a clear understanding, gained from participatory research, of the experiences of different subgroups of street-involved children, the environments in which they live and the people with whom they interact.