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  Russian street kids: your questions answered
Updated 04 March 2003, 17.41
Laura with an abandoned baby
Laura went to Russia to report on the lives of homeless children living there.

There are about one million children without a home in Russia. Many were forced onto the streets or abandoned by their parents.

Below Laura has answered some questions about the Extra, but if you want to know more, e-mail in your question and Laura will try and answer as many as she can.

  • Click send in your question

  • Why is there no help for the children - why do they live on the streets?
  • What were the children you spoke to like?
  • What is being done to help them?
  • Is there any hope for the children?
  • How can I help?


    Why is there no help for the children - why do they live on the streets?

    Russia is quite a poor country - the standard of living is quite low for most people.

    Also, there are massive problems with alcoholism and lots if people haven't got jobs.

    Many families can't afford to feed their children and send them out begging. This often leads to the children living on the streets.

    There is no safety net in Russia - if you're poor and haven┐t got enough to eat there is no help from the government, unlike in the UK.


    What were the children you spoke to like?

    They were just like children over here. They're obviously very poor and live in appalling conditions.

    They don't have mums or dads or brothers or sisters that they can rely on so they are quite independent - they have to be so that they can survive.

    But they were very bright, friendly children who liked laughing and having fun.

    It was only occasionally when you saw them looking into a shop window and dreaming about the food that they would never be able to afford that you realised how different their lives were to ours.


    What is being done to help the street kids?

    Charities are doing all they can to help street children all over the world - it's not just a problem in Russia.

    They take food to the children at night time and give it to them out of a van.

    They provide money for day shelters where children can go to wash, play, see a doctor and get some warm food. And they also provide clothes.

    But most importantly they're helping set up schemes to try and help the children long term.

    They can go to classes to learn how to read and write and get skills which might help them get work and eventually somewhere to live.


    Is there any hope for the children?

    Some of the children were hopeful that they would one day be able to lead normal lives, but it is very difficult.

    Not many street children will grow old and ever manage to achieve their what they want from life.

    Surviving is all that most of them will manage if they're lucky.


    How can I help?

    If you want to find out more about the street children in Russia and around the world you can contact Children In Crisis, the charity who's working with them by clicking on this link www.childrenincrisis.org.uk.




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    Children in Crisis official website
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