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Street children

Defining street children is a difficult task - made harder by the many uncertainties surrounding the term. The term ‘street children’ is usually applied to children under the age of 18, who either live or make a living on the streets. Some may have family connections, but others are simply abandoned or choose to run away from home, often due to domestic violence[1]. Estimating the number of street children is extremely difficult due to the transient lifestyle they lead as well as the debates surrounding the precise definition of the term. Recent UNICEF estimates are as high as 100-150 million around the world.

The World Declaration on Education for All[2] states that “An active commitment must be made to remove educational disparities. Undeserved groups [including street children] should not suffer any discrimination in access to learning opportunities”.

Street children are highly concentrated in countries with struggling economies, but are also present in developed countries. Regardless of their location, they face hardships and exploitation. Street children are generally deprived of their right to education and have little or no access to the formal education system. The majority of them are illiterate and have either never been enrolled, or have dropped out of the formal education system, and it is difficult to secure funding for the kind of informal education which suits street children’s lives.  

The lack of education and educational opportunities makes street children particularly vulnerable to trafficking, child labour, sexual abuse, exposure to HIV/AIDS and other STIs, and police violence. These children remain one of the most overlooked and vulnerable groups of children. Their protection and education are frequently neglected by governments, either due to inadequate legislation or obstacles related to the implementation of that legislation. 


·         Violence

·         Child labour

·         Sexual abuse, HIV/AIDS and STIs

·         Informal education

·         Lack of documentation, such as birth certificates.

·         Stigma and discrimination

Publications and resources:, then under street children themes find education.   

Some of the publications and resources from CSC’s website:

“Study of policies and programmes addressing the right of street children to education” (Nepal):

“A Study of policies and programmes in the Philippines addressing the right of street children to education”:

“Report on situational analysis of street children, Education for All policy review and best practices studies on basic NFE for children living and/or working on the streets in Pakistan”:

“A study of policies and programs of street children education in Indonesia”:

World Education Forum: “Education for All – 2000 Assessment on Children who are excluded”:

“Practice Handbook: Methodology for delievering and practising non-formal education in Tanzania”

“Vocational training and employment for street children” (Vietnam):