Street Children in Hawassa: Analysis of their Life Situation

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Addis Ababa University


This study attempts to explore the life situation of street children who live and work on the street of Hawassa. The study mainly aimed at investigating the factors contributed for streetism, survival strategies of street children, challenges of street life and the present living and working condition of these children. To better understand street children and to portray their everyday life situation qualitative research method was employed as the sole technique of data collection. Data pertinent to the study was gained through guided interview, Indepth interview, focus group discussion and personal observation. This study assumes children as competent social actors who have certain freedom of choice and action. To this effect, the basic concept of structuration theory, a theory concerned with the intersection between knowledgeable and capable social agents and the wider social systems and structure in which they implicate was employed as a theoretical framework to address the research problem as well as to realize and interpret the situation of the studied group. The findings of this research depict that every child has a reason for being on the street. For some children, the street is an escape from domestic violence and abuse. For others, the street is a means of survival in supplementing their family's income and in fulfilling their basic necessities. Once children join street life, they struggle to survive through undertaking a wide variety of activities which mainly take place in the informal sector. Besides, as integral part of survival strategy, street children interact with each other through multiple networks and over the range of issues and concerns that constitute social life. This social network serves as a buffer against vulnerability, shocks and livelihood constraints on one hand. On the other, it is characterized by hierarchies and unequal power relations between and among children of different age sex which contribute to conflict and competition. Life on the street is a tough reality. The living and working situation make up street children vulnerable to various kinds of, physical, sexual, psychological, and drug abuse. Accessibility to basic necessities like food, cloth, shelter, health care and other services are also severely restricted to these children.



Street Children in Hawassa::