Street children can be working children or abandoned children without families who are forced to take care of themselves. They mostly come from lower-class families who have fled or been abandoned for different reasons. Children who live on the road and are dependent on themselves, are often physically or sexually abused. Child labor and substance abuse are also quite common. Children do occasional work, collecting waste material, and begging.
They can be independent but usually connect in the subcultures on the road to survive.
Subcultures are a concept in sociology representing a particular culture or group of people who have specific patterns of behavior and belief within that culture. Subcultures change over the years, as relationships between youth styles like music, leisure, and politic change.
Street children are known to almost the whole world. Most of them are in poorer and less developed areas. Cultural and political backgrounds and the geographical location of the country have a major impact on differences. Social factors of the social levels and individual levels of the child are also important. The average age of these children is 12, 5 years. They are made of about 75% of boys and 25% girls. The World Health Organization estimates that the number of road children in the world ranges between 10 million and 100 million, while the United Nations estimates the number at 150 million.
Almost 70% of all street children in the world live in Asia-Pacific. The main reason for it is the poverty and fleeing of children from the family and discarded and orphaned children. Street children in America are different according to their location, whether they are in South, Central or North America, the fewest are in the north. In Africa, the phenomenon of road children is already known throughout the countries, especially in the sub-Saharan part, and has existed for some time. The increase began during the 1970s and 1990s when African countries began proclaiming their independence.
Eastern Europe has the most child labor in Europe. Children live on the roads and shelter in tunnels, garbage containers, basements, under bridges and hot water pipes, which give them the necessary heat in winter. These children mostly do not attend school and few are literate at all.
There is also a book about these children. It was written by a Slovenian student Andrej Naterer between the years 2000-2006. In the book, he describes road children and their life, as he decided to go to Ukraine and live among them for research. It also describes road children elsewhere, but in more detail those in the Ukrainian city of Makejevka. The book is titled Bomži because it is a slang term used by the road children of Makejevka in Ukraine for themselves and the rest of the homeless. The children spent their summers there on the roads, sleeping under the trees they called jolačka (fir trees). Under the trees were some cardboard and a lot of mud, rubbish and dirt everywhere. They explained to him that hard Ukrainian winters are spent in the shafts they call tipluhe. In them, he had to go with a flashlight. The entrance was hidden, as adults often close entrances to the shafts so children can’t get into them. They are even dirtier than the outside and full of mud.
A big problem for the children are also sexual diseases, the most common being syphilis and general herpes. Other diseases are also very common due to poor hygiene and poor living conditions. However, children do not want to go to hospitals because they are dirty and have poor hygiene.
One of the most common problems of roadside children is intoxicating substances. The problem is universal. The most common is the use of alcohol, tobacco products, and inhalers. In Ukraine, homeless young people often inhale glue or inject cold and flu medicines as a way of taking drugs. There are children under 10 who have been on the streets with glue and paint. Cigarettes are also common. Among them, samagon is the most popular form of alcohol. They make it out of everything that rots and produces alcohol, such as candy, leftover food, fruit,… One of the most dangerous drugs among children in Makejevka is the drug Baltuška. It’s made from a cure for flu and potassium permanganate. Baltuška, however, does not cause addiction and is used as a social event. But this does not make it less dangerous.