Cairo's Street Children Ignored No Longer

<p>In Cairo, the problem of street children was once ignored, but is now a growing concern in the public consciousness. Numerous services and aid agencies have developed in recent years to help the city's impoverished children.</p>
February 5, 2008, 6am PST | Nate Berg
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"New half-day centers, overnight facilities, and psychological services are being launched. They reach only a fraction of the tens of thousands of street children but the growth of the services is remarkable in a country where conservative estimates put the poverty rate at 20 percent and street kids have long been regarded by society and the government as little more than delinquents."

"Just seven years ago, only a group called Hope Village Society worked with street kids in Cairo, and two groups worked in Egypt's next biggest city, Alexandria. Today some dozen groups try to help. While services remain basic, they have grown rapidly in the four years since the government first acknowledged the street kids' plight and a series of murders of street children shocked the public into facing what had been a taboo subject."

"Until 2003, the government and society ignored children like these, fleeing abuse or poverty at home to wind up working for a gang in the streets. Under Egyptian law, street children can be locked up as 'potential delinquents.'"

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Published on Monday, February 4, 2008 in The Christian Science Monitor
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