It’s close to two years since I started working as a social worker for S.A.L.V.E. International. In this journey, I have seen so many challenges the street children face in their day to day struggle to survive, none more so than that of Harry*.
Last month, I was taking a group of children to do sports in the afternoon, which is where we found Harry wanting to take a shower before sports.
We had met a smartly dressed man standing near a trench at the side of the road with some other people around. The man told us he had dropped his phone down a drain and the children said they could find it for him if he paid them.
Into the Sewers…
Before anyone could say anything Harry jumped down the trench into the sewage drains below! He waded through the sewage and crawled a long way through the small drainage pipe. He reappeared with the man’s phone covered in dirt from the drain. The main gave the boy 1,000 Ugandan shillings (less than 20 pence in UK sterling) who happily accepted it much to the dismay of the other children around.
Harry had gone to great risk and personal danger to help the man and the children thought he deserved more but Harry was very happy with what he’d received. Having spent so long living on the streets, with no money or food to eat he was happy to get anything he could saying “Aunt, however little it is, I will take it because I am so hungry” – just one example of the struggles children living on the street face every day.
He immediately went to take a shower to wash off all the raw sewage and went to get a snack to eat with the money he was given.
How much do you think he should have been given for taking on such a dangerous and dirty job to help someone? It is sad that some people place so little value on the lives of children living on the streets.
At S.A.L.V.E. we believe that all children have potential and deserve a chance of a brighter future through family and education.
*Harry’s name has been changed in this public forum in line with our child protection policy.