Kosovo Begging children unaware of International Children’s Day

Project : Kosovo 4 Jun 2012 begging street activities child begging child rights

3046_kosovo_children_day_smallJune 1, Prishtina, Kosovo: A 14 year old boy from Kosovo told us: “I don’t know what 1st of June is, to me it is the same as any other day. I wake up at around 10, I go out in the main trafic lights and I try to earn as much money as possible washing the car’s windows. After that, I go back home to give to my family the money I earned”.

On the International Day of Children, the main square of Prishtina was full of children who were happily celebrating their day with families and friends. Festive concerts with songs and dances for children, art shows and various circus shows were organized and displayed in the city’s promenade. Many state institutions but also International and local organizations were seen today delivering flyers and sweets for the children.

Unlike its partners, Terre des hommes has decided to have a different approach towards children in need. The Tdh field team went to the main streets of Prishtina in order to identify children from Kosovo and Albania begging, even on the 1st of June, a day that was supposed to be dedicated to them. The main aim of this action was to collect evidence and to continue denouncing this phenomenon which takes children away from being children – even on this special day.

3047_kosovo_children_day2_smallDuring the short action, 15 begging children were met, 8 of whom were new cases and 7 of them were cases already known. Among these children, 10 of them were from Kosovo and 5 from Albania.

During the discussions with these children, it became evident that most of them did not know that 1st of June was their day, even though they had seen the colourful decorations in the city and had attended some parts of the artistic programs in the main square of the capital.

An 11 year old boy from Albania, said: “The 1st of June is children’s day. I went out in the morning to see the celebration and I like how the city is decorated. I attended some of the artistic activities which I enjoyed a lot and after that I continued to beg, same as I do every day, in the coffee shops around the centre of the city”.

The high number of children who beg in the streets of Prishtina, indicates that the child protection system in Kosovo continues to face difficulties protecting this category of children in need, leaving them with no support and making impossible for these children to live their childhood in the same way as the others. (KV)

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