Children. Alone. Vulnerable. When children should be enveloped in the love and warmth of a family, there are millions who face lives on the street and lives marked with daily pangs of hunger, thirst, disease, and loneliness.
There are over 100 million street children and orphans throughout the developing world. Nearly every country and city in the world faces the challenge of street children. High numbers of street children are more prevalent in poorer nations, especially throughout Latin America, Asia and Africa.
“Street children” are children, who live, sleep, work and eat on the streets.
Often, these are children from extremely poor families (who may or may not have parents). Poverty, family disintegration due to health or death, neglect, abuse or abandonment, and social unrest are common causes for a child to turn to life on the streets.
The term “street children” can refer to market children who work in the streets and markets of cities selling or begging but who live with their families, and homeless street children, who work, live and sleep in the streets, often lacking contact with their families.
Murder, consistent abuse and inhumane treatment are common for these children who often sleep in cardboard boxes or under newspapers, even in the cold and rain, and who are relegated to stealing, selling drugs or even selling their bodies to survive. Street children are constantly harassed, and often beaten by brutal police or even family members. Many of these children will die of starvation, HIV/AIDS, physical or sexual abuse, or end up in jail by their early-to-mid teens.
Unbelievably, tens of thousands of street children across Asia will be killed each year and cut up for body parts to be sold into the illicit organ trade.
Young girls are especially vulnerable. There are 1.5 to 2 million young girls (between the ages of 5 and 12) in developing nations who are engaged in forced prostitution each year, which often leads to sex slavery and HIV/AIDS. The few thousand young girls who do escape from forced prostitution or are rescued from their slavery each year often have nowhere to go except to the streets – where many have to steal or go back to prostitution to live.
For most of these young girls and street children, there is no life. The daily excruciating struggle to survive haunts the minds, bodies and souls of street children. For most, hope has vanished.
This is why the Asian Pacific Childrens Fund exists. Our passion is to come alongside childrens homes that are actively working to restore life, to bolster their work of returning hope to these children. Currently Asian Pacific Childrens Fund is supporting eight childrens homes located in the nations of India, Indonesia, Nepal, and the Philippines with funding, medical aid, staff and many other forms of assistance. We will continue to adopt more children’s homes into the APCF family of homes as our funding grows.
APCF has made it easy to learn more about the Children’s Homes we are already supporting to enable you to directly help the children living in these homes. Watch short films, view slideshows, and step deeper into the story of these homes by reading about their beginnings, vision and hope.
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