Although many are taken in by relatives, the large number of orphans means that some are left with no alternative but to live on the streets. The reality of street life for most of these children is not only a daily struggle to find food and shelter. Living on the streets also renders children particularly vulnerable to drug use and prostitution. As a result, street children run a very high risk of HIV infection.
Meninos de Moçambique
Meninos de Moçambique works to turn around the lives of the street children of Maputo. Since 2007 Egmont has funded activities aimed at reducing the children’s chances of HIV infection by providing shelter and access to medical treatment; providing older children with a means of supporting themselves through vocational training; and where possible reuniting children with their families.
We were taken by Abdul Faquir, Meninos’ Executive Director, to meet some of the young people they have successfully helped transition away from a life on the streets. In Luis Cabral, Maputo’s poorest district, we met Gabrielle and her two young boys. Gabrielle came to the attention of Meninos on the streets of Maputo in 2013. Meninos enrolled her on an Egmont funded hair and beauty training course, and counselled her through her HIV diagnosis. With their help, Gabrielle set up a small beauty salon business. She is now able to support her two young children and is saving up to send them to school when they are old enough. In the meantime, Gabrielle is paying for night-classes to catch up on the schooling she missed when she was living on the streets.