Children living and/or working on the streets in Harare: Issues and challenges.
This qualitative study sought to examine the situation of children that were living and/or working on the streets of Harare. A sample of six children (participants) was purposively drawn from among a host of children that were observed to be living and/working on the streets of Harare. A focus group discussion was conducted with the sampled children who had given their consent to participate in the study. In addition, in-depth interviews were conducted with four of the participants. The study findings indicated that the street children had to grapple with numerous socioeconomic challenges and both the government and society at large had continued to ‘ignore’ their plight. Apparently the family unit, which traditionally is considered the bedrock of child welfare and child protection, had, perhaps as a result of the prevailing socioeconomic hardships, abrogated this crucial responsibility, and in some instances, had even propelled the street children phenomenon. The paper concludes that socioeconomic prospects for children who live and/or work on the street of Harare are likely to remain bleak unless stakeholders can meaningfully intervene. The paper observes that the most effective solutions are probably those that appreciate the importance of participation of the street children themselves in deciding the best course of action.
Keywords: Street, children, Harare, modernisation, participation, abuse, socioeconomic, Zimbabwe