Livelihoods and Survival Strategies Among The Migrant Shoe-Shinning Children: A Case Study at Arada Sub-City, Addis Ababa.

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Addis Ababa University


Qualitative research approaches and methods that broadly fall under abservations and interviews are the principal methods employed to uncover and understand what lies behind any phenomenon involved in the daily experiences of the children because the natural context of the children's lives and the inte/personal and socia-cultural fabric injluences their livelihood perspectives, experiences and actions. Besides, using the case study research approach, we attempted to assess the social networks and or relationships constructed by the children. In fact, the whole process of generating the research data was primarily made on the basis of the children's own perspectives and understanding of their work and livelihood conditions. In doing so, I asked them how they think of their lives in their own terms and gave their own viewpoints. Poor rural parents are unable to provide education and basic survival needs to their children. As a consequence, children are ojlen obliged to quit school and joined the city streets in search of employment in the informal sector. In fact, working (shoe -shinning) children discontinued education not because they are uncaring to school rather due to lacking assistance from their parents because of families' impoverishment, and death or disharmony. Mostly, children are obliged to dropout at school and migrated 10 the city in search of work not because of the net benefits of attending school are low relative to the rewards from shoe-shinning work. Even though, the study children properly acknowledged that attending school is absolutely vital for their life, it was beyond their capability to pursue education because their families are impoverished and unable to send them to school. It was mainly due to lacking basic survival needs that children are obliged to work. Thus, survival is the foremost and an irreplaceable agenda than schooling for the needy children. The study reveals that the livelihoods of the shoe shiners are dynamiC and there is an intense solidarity among shoe-shinning children in Addis Ababa city. Most of them maintain very close social ties and networks with peer groups, relatives, customers, and with other street actors. The most predominant social tie and or network is peer group socialization which is mainly constructed on the basis of identical work and geographical origin. Those who came from the same geographical origin and or rural village form a unified functional group and develop high sense of belongingness. They live and work together for getting the benefits of communal life style. Children conceived that living together is the sale livelihood strategy which enables to reduce urban living cost and perhaps makes life easier and enjoyable. They use their social networks and bonds to overcome some of the challenges they face such as redUCing their meals and sharing apartments with colleagues as well as relying on each other's help in times of scarcity. Moreover, they create a new sense of family-hood' with their social groups and exercise a sense of enthusiastic love and care to each other. At times they suffer, they usually share material and financ ial benefits from each other. For instance, if a child lacks income to get food, friends will invite and or lend some money. If somebody is sick or injured they would take him to the clinic or give treatment at home. Shoe-shinning children one among the urban poor in Addis city, have been exposed to various vulnerable living conditions. Most of them lack adequate livelihood income and basic necessities which in turn affected their spatial well being and health conditions as well. Miserable life due to the failure to completely acclimatize and mitigate the urban life constraints (such as the high cost of living (rising food price, and high house rent cost), injlation, poor housing access, insecure wage, and poor sanitation), have been aggravating the vulnerability conditions of these children. In general, lack of access to suffiCient resources and vulnerability to the aforementioned urban life hazards, stresses and shocks are responsible for the unsustainable livelihoods, poor wellbeing and lack of the children's basic necessities.



Migrant Shoe-Shinning Children