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Last Updated: Monday, 4 July, 2005, 09:21 GMT 10:21 UK
Africa's homeless children: Your views
Children of the Soweto choir (all Aids orphans) singing at the Red Cross Our Children Our Future campaign launch in Johannesburg, South Africa
As G8 leaders meet to discuss poverty in Africa, the BBC News Website wants your views on the plight of the continent's homeless youth.

War, poverty and abuse have resulted in African children making the continent's city streets their home.

The Aids epidemic is by far the worst cause. Some 12 million children under the age of 18 are orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, out of a total of approximately 25 million children orphaned from all causes, according to the United Nations' children's charity, Unicef.

What do you think about Africa's homeless youth? Have you been affected in any way or can you personally relate to the feature? Send us your comments and views.


Your comments:

The fact that thousands of children are living on the streets in Johannesburg is an absolute disgrace. South Africa is rich compared to all other African countries. Its government is currently spending over 10 billion pounds for arms of war to fight who?
Frank Hartry, Amanzimtoti. South Africa

I live in the USA where many people worry about their next shopping trip, or buying a big house with a big kitchen. I feel sad that people out there are suffering so much. We have so many rich people in the States, especially rich celebrities; I would hope they do their part in this lifetime to help those who are unfortunate, and those whose governments are not helping.

Education is the beginning, good family structure is also important. My heart goes out to these people who are trying to find their way through life. May God protect them. Just thinking of others in need is a start. The governments clearly need to get a conscience and take care of their people.
Muneera Naseer, St Louis, MO

I really feel pity on the people who have no one to give them special love. First of all, everyone needs attention, love and necessary support, many young ones run onto the street to find comfort. Some parents don't even care because they have nothing to do with them. Why should we have many children and failing to support them it makes me feel bad and moved with some situations.

Step-parents are also a big problem, when one is getting married to a person who has children should be ready to be responsible, not only loving the partner but also the kids found with the partner, it's not really fair, we really need God's intervention. May God bless all who are homeless, suffering and have no-one to care and love them.
Fidelis Kaiche, Lusaka, Zambia

Funny how sunny the travelling guides describe Jo'burg. I didn't even have a clue about how many children live on the streets. Now when I'll be visiting it I'll be looking at it differently. And also donate my savings to a Care Centre for Girls. Just imagine! I thought I knew enough and was 'involved'! While in fact I was just pretending.
HA Dekker-Loginova, Haarlem, the Netherlands

Sad, just very sad that in today's day and age we cannot help them more. It seems that their own governments and police force are lining there own pockets and we are allowing this. I have to wonder even when the ones of us who care and do what we can are actually getting these monies. I have such a heart to be there and to help out in some small way, but people like me are not needed from what I have been reading they want those who can train the ones who already are doing fine, we need to get to the foundation and stop supporting those who are already wealthy and getting the teachings on computers and fixing them. What a joke when so many are dying all around them.
Teri, Canada

I am really touched by the story of this young South African girl living in this shelter.
Yaw Adu-larbi, London, UK

Street children are the inevitable result of poverty in Africa and the way in which poverty destroys family and tribal networks. People commonly try to put the reasons down to a single cause - poverty or lack of education. The truth is there is no one simple answer - but if we listen to street children with respect and allow them to be part of the solution, there is a lot we can do to alleviate their situation.

Street Child Africa works in the UK to provide immediate support for street children in Africa, as well as to promote long term political change for their benefit. If you want to know more about street children in Africa or to find out how you can help, visit us at

Amy Hatton, Thames Ditton, Middlesex

The plight of children in Africa is heart rending. I applaud the efforts of the ordinary man woman and child in developed countries who truly feel for these children's plight and want to make a difference. Children suffer the same whether one was born in Canada, UK, USA or Malawi.

Governments of the rich nations have turned a blind eye to the suffering of these innocent victims, and bear a heavy responsibility for what is happening today. Corrupt African leaders are equally culpable if not more so for their plunder and looting of the meagre resources left over by western plunderers. Africans should loudly condemn these thieves who want to die on the job - looting.
Edwards Ndovi, Edmonton, Canada

I would like to add that it's all the colours of the human race suffering poverty in Africa. I am from South Africa and grew up in Johannesburg. I lost my parents early and had to fend for myself without government help, because there is no help from the government. Then I was judged because I am white. People said, you are white therefore you will survive. What's wrong with these people? White or black you are suffering!

I grew up in South Africa... I know what it's like to be poor. In my opinion every person in Europe should spend a year of their young adulthood in Africa, you will learn things about survival you will never learn in Europe. In fact you will appreciate every penny earned, every job you get and will be a stronger person in life altogether. There are things in Africa, whatever your skin colour, that teaches you the most valuable lessons concerning life and love of people. South Africans were always judged on racism, that's unfair!

It's a government-built agenda and not the people of South Africa! We share the poverty, we shared the labelling on colour, we share the grief of joblessness, we share a lot more than what Europe may think. Do not judge Africans any longer, we are a learning continent! Together!
Martha, UK/South Africa

I am a former street child, now leading a team of former street children committed to changing the way society understands and addresses the issue in South Africa. Being a street child is a painful experience. Homeless children is a growing crisis in South Africa. Many of the "new arrivals" on the streets are affected by HIV/Aids. Street life is tough and children live at great risk of being infected with HIV.

Abuse on the streets is rife, prostitution and rape is common place and sniffing glue is used as a way of escaping the fear and pain of that lifestyle. 2010 will see a showdown. Without new strategies to address the issue there will be a huge increase in street children to levels previously unimaginable due to the Aids orphan crisis.

Yet, even now, five years before, tremendous pressure is on the authorities to clean up the cities of street children for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. How will this be done? Hopefully methods used during the World Conference Against Racism in Durban and the Tourist Indaba (both in Durban) will not set a precedent otherwise the World Cup could be a nightmare for street children.
Bulelwa Ngantweni-Hewitt, Durban South Africa

Zillions of congratulations to the likes of Nelly Banda, who dedicated their lives in assisting those unfortunate children of Africa, who had to survive in the streets of one of the world's poorest countries. Let us also ponder about other millions of African children of are surviving in the muddy streets of a content, whose politicians know only two things: how to misappropriate and then blame others. As an African, who had experienced the worst of what Africa holds for its children, I rest my case in shame.
Mohamed, Hargeisa, Somaliland

This was a great article that really brought up a lot of the issues that African children face, particularly ones living in townships or poor slum communities. It also highlights what is being done to try to ameliorate some of the problems. I think a lot of people in the US don't think much about the huge problem of street kids because it is not something we really see over here, but I think Americans should definitely be aware of the issues. There is another amazing organization in South Africa that is doing similar work in Durban, called the Street Team.

It works in conjunction with the StreetWise shelter. They work with both male and female street children to educate them, get them back to their homes/communities, and get them back in school.

Julia, San Francisco, USA

I think help is needed in educating a homeless child in Africa because education opens lots of doors to life. Also helping them with skills needed to look after themselves and helping themselves when eventually they grow up is important. Having no parents to look after them is very hard but with these skills they will eventually learn to survive in this modern world.
Daphne, Southampton, UK

There are many children that need to be taken care of all over the world. Africa is not the only country that has children with Aids. The children in the USA are homeless, abused, beaten, and have Aids also. I think we should take care of our own before we look to another country, especially in the USA. We have millions of children who have no where to go in USA, as do the children in Africa. I feel for the homeless youth in Africa, but let's take care of our own children in our own country first.
Susan, USA

It is so sad to see a huge number of children trying to fend for themselves on streets that may even be dangerous for adults at times. The government should set a budget for the education of society about the vitality of family- no matter how much poverty people face, they should not give up on their children and let them go off on the streets.
Esra Karatash Alpay, Istanbul, Turkey

Well, what can I say? We all need love. All of Africa's homeless children and orphans need love. Thanks be to certain well-meaning individuals for bringing much needed publicity to the cause of Africa's future over the last five years. They all need help, they need our help and divine intervention to alleviate their misery.
Jit, Edmonton, Canada




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