uMthombo Street Children
Who are we?
uMthombo Street Children is a South African Section 21 Company and Non-Profit organisation committed to providing alternatives for street Children and a way out out the streets.
We work in the EThekwini Metro in KwaZulu Natal, with a population of 3.5 million people & an unemployment rate of 30.2%. Approx 20% of its population are children & youth aged between 14 and 25. Among these, the unemployment rate is approx 39%.
Now this creates fertile ground for teenage hopelessness & a lack of future-orientation, and the availability of cheap drugs on the streets creates a tempting escape route to apparent ‘freedom’.
" There are no quick fix solutions but children’s lives can be transformed".
How do we do it?
We have a team social workers and childcare-trained former street children. With our understanding of street life, we aim to zone in on the key triggers that perpertuates life on the streets and offer alternatives.
We accomplish this as follows:
Reintegration back into their communities with appropriate family preparation and support.
In other cases, where there is no-where to return, maybe due to a trauma, we have to be very careful and patient in empowering these children to make a fresh start.
South Africa’s income disparities are amongst the world’s highest. Related social problems in urban areas profoundly affect the most vulnerable, children and youth.
This in turn has led to an increase in the children and youths connected to the street in South Africa due to urban migration, poverty, rapid urbanization, social disintegration, HIV, drug abuse, family dysfunction-abuse & neglect. And in some cases, teenagers leave difficult home situations to face much greater risks on the streets. Children & youths living on the streets are exposed to subcultures of crime, substance abuse, gambling, multiple partner- or transactional sex, sexual exploitation & abuse, & unplanned pregnancy, STIs & HIV, with little access to health services.
“It is highly import we engage with these children as early as possiblle as when they appear on Durban streets, most are already engaged in high-risk behaviors or street living in their home communities. These are mostly township areas, where unemployment is high and HIV prevalent”.
The Greater Durban Municipal Integrated Development Plan 2017-2022 cites teen pregnancy, alcohol abuse, HIV/AIDS & homelessness as the 4 main social challenges.
At uMthombo, we work personally with the children, consulting them, advocating for them and not stigmatizing or vilifying them. This is because experience has shown the importance of intervening as early as possible. And also, ensuring local support systems exist to improve the likelihood of reintegration and helping these children and youths rebuilding their lives.
GET IN TOUCH
Tackling the Issue. All our efforts involve being personally involved with the educational needs of the children we support and responding accordingly.