Being a street child in Uganda means stigmatization and social exclusion, few people care about them and they are constantly victims of harassment and violence. To many children living on the street,their days are an endless struggle for food and drugs. In order to access these they search for or steal scrap metals but also other things that can be sold quickly, some are begging and many are victims of child labour.
The underlying causes to why children end up on the street varies from each individual, common for all however is a background characterized by hardships. Loss of one or both parents, poverty, domestic violence, drug abuse, diseases and mental illness are some.
Boy 11 years
”My mother died when I was a baby. Me and my brother stayed alone with our father but he was rarely at home. When he went somewhere he would lock us inside the house. We could sit there for hours. When we got older we started escaping, going to town where we met a boy we had once studied with. We were sniffing glue and smoking marijuana and felt happier than we had in a long time. Our father came after us. He forced us back home and we received harsh punishments. Despite of that we continued escaping. Eventually our father gave up and stopped coming to search for us”
Boy 12 years
”My mother was working as a house maid when I was born. I don’t know who my father is. One day she disappeared and left me behind, I don’t know where she went. The family she had been working for took care of me at first but when I got older I became a bit stubborn. They were often angry with me. One day they told me that they could not take care of me anymore. I had nowhere to go. I started looking for food in the garbage and was sleeping in the bush or abandoned buildings. Soon I met some other children in the same situation and we became friends.”