If you were able to imagine yourself a 5 year old child, left alone on the street, hungry, thirsty and frightened, surrounded by thousands of unknown people, among whom there is not a single person you can turn to and who seems to care about you, what do you think would you do? What kind of help do you think would you really need? Money? Food? Clothes? A confused and lost kid who has to rely only on himself, – does it make any sense? We are extremely lucky living the way we do, not having experience of feeling in such a bewildering, desperate way but there are many children in Ukraine that actually did.
Living in big cities for long periods of time we became familiar with all its beauty and disfigurements. Things that seem to be wrong are perceived as a natural part of the whole. But when you are a child everything rouses your interest and desire to know more. When I was nearly 6 I got puzzled by the problem of homeless children for the first time. I couldn’t understand who those wandering all around kids were, where did they come from and why they are so different from those whom I used to know. What made me really puzzled was the sight of their begging for money on the streets, striving for help from my parents and other people, who were obviously unknown to them. With time I surely learned the reason, but there was something so wrong about the fact that I couldn’t just ignore it. Through finding out more about the situation I formed my own attitude and my own conviction about how the problem should be resolved, and what is wrong in our actions.
Deprived children- who are they? Hundreds of homeless kids are wandering on the streets in a country where there has been no war for now more than 60 years. Fifty thousands of children thrown out on the streets are AIDS-infected. A question arouses – what is going on in our society and what is happening with us?
According to official information given by Secretariat of Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, more than 130 thousands of children in Ukraine live on the streets. Most of waifs are from 6 to 16 years old (76%), 13% are children of pre-school age, 11% are older than 16. Nearly 80% of tramps are boys. Every year next 20 000 of abandoned boys and girls are added. In general 13 is the age most leave home (Family Homelessness). I guess that this age has something to do with their sense of self developing to a point that they can think through leaving their family of origin and standing on their own two feet.
Do we often ask ourselves: What is the reason they have for being homeless, why do not they live at homes as normal child would do? The most widespread reasons for children’s getting on the streets are alcoholism and drug addiction of their parents. They live in such awful conditions and sometimes are treated so cruelly at home, that running away becomes a kind of deliverance; yet, there are also children from happy and safe families, whose escape can be caused by some psychological conflict either at school or at home.