A route off the street

A route off the street

A route off the street

A route off the street

A route off the street

A route off the street

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The United Nations estimates there are up to 150 million street children in the world – children who face stigmatization and discrimination and are at increased risk of exploitation and abuse.

Today, on the International Day of Street Children we acknowledge in a special way the work of our sisters and partners-in-mission around the world who intervene with street children to provide them access to education, basic health services, and social protection.

One such program is the St. John Eudes Rehabilitation Center in Syongela Village, Kenya.

As the sole support for street children in Kitui County, the center provides invaluable social services for children as well as strengthening their families and the community at large.

The priority of the center is to rehabilitate, reform, reconcile, and reintegrate children keeping them off the streets and facilitating a smooth transition back to their homes, school, and community.

After six months to one year of rehabilitation, almost all children and youth supported by the center have enrolled back in school.

Other such valuable work is carried out in Antananarivo, Madagascar, where sisters work to offer street children and poorer at-risk children – some of whom have never attended school before – access to various levels of education at the Fihavanana Center. Here, girls aged 14 to 18 are taught cooking, pastry, cutting and sewing, French, catechesis, and life-skills training.

In all, there are 175 students whose presence at the center is a great opportunity for each of them because they receive an education and nutritional food. Once they complete their studies, they are supported to find work and build their future.

In Cavite, the Philippines, in response to the growing number of children lured into situations of prostitution, Sr Mary Lydia Kalaw established the Morning Glory Program (MGP). From this – and the urgent need to offer these children shelter in a long-term program – the Bukid Kabataan (Youth Farm) was established in 1991. The center offers support to girls who are survivors of abuse, neglected, abandoned, or previously lived on the streets.

Its programs and services are directed towards healing the emotional and psychological hurts and pains of the girls while addressing their holistic development, enabling them to become productive members of their families and society.

In Cebu, the Congregation runs the Kadasig Community Center for poor girls and women who have been in situations of homelessness or come from at-risk families. Here, those welcomed are provided with basic needs such as food and accommodation, medical, and psycho-social-spiritual activities. Stressing the critical role of education in the healing and recovery process, beneficiaries are provided with educational assistance in partner schools and institutions. The residential program is tailor-fit to the situation and needs of each resident and designed to support them in their medium to long-term healing process.

Through these centers and the many others around the world run by the Congregation, thousands of children and youth have been empowered and most of them are self-reliant leading meaningful and dignified lives.

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