Imagine if you were a child and had no home to sleep in, and maybe no family to protect you. It was difficult to obtain your daily necessities without guidance, and even more difficult to obtain an education or enjoy being young.

Many children around the world run away from home, are abandoned, kidnapped, orphaned, or live in desolate areas. Some have special needs or disabilities without any access to rehabilitation. Some just need someone to play with and give them love and care.

Now you have a chance to help these children. Whether you will be teaching them in a makeshift classroom in the slums, assisting them at school, playing sports with them, providing medical care, helping them to be self-sufficient, or just making them laugh, there are endless ways to help.

If you are dedicated to those adorable smiles and believe that every child deserves basic necessities and attention, then Volunteering with Street Children is a good option for you. These programs will give you an opportunity to impact the life of children, while paving the way for a better future.

Photo credit: Jonas Schleske.

The types of volunteering programs out there for working with street children are endless. Because these children are in dire need of things we often take for granted, there is not one project that would be more helpful to these children than others.

Many programs are well-organized and will help you get everything you need, as well as assist you once you are there. Depending on what you are comfortable with, make sure you find the program that best suits your own needs first, in addition to the needs of others.

Also, often volunteering with street children is just one component of a much bigger project. That being said, if you are sure you want to volunteer with street children, but not quite sure in what way, then check out a few of these options:

Teaching/Assisting:

Many street children have limited access to education, if any at all. As a teacher, assistant, or even a caregiver, you will go into these communities and help provide substance and meaning to the education of these children. You just being there does not only help the children, it also benefits the school-as many are understaffed and teachers are under a lot of pressure.

Orphanages:

Many street children in communities across the world have been taken in by orphanages. Some children are abandoned, ran away from home, handicapped, sick, or are children of immigrant workers who simply do not have the time or resources to raise children.

Fun activities:

If you want to help street children just by having fun with them, there are options, too. Some programs allow you to train and play football or other sports with these children. If sports aren’t really your thing, then you can do arts and crafts workshops, dance workshops, or even cooking classes.

Community Development:

If you decide to volunteer with street children, you might want to do so through improving the communities these children come from, in order to provide sustainability. Maybe you will help provide healthcare to children with HIV/AIDS, speak and practice English with them, or educate their families about health and safety.

Africa

Many different countries in Africa hold opportunities to volunteer with street children. Many of these programs might involve working in impoverished schools or orphanages. Not only will you be helping the children, but also the communities in which they live.

Asia

If you want to create a classroom in the middle of slums, or bring a smile to the face of a child who has lost his or her family, then head to India, China, or other parts of Asia where you will find some of the largest populations of street children in the world.

Latin America

If you want an opportunity to practice your Spanish while teaching street children how to play soccer or paint mosaics, there are many countries throughout Central and South America that offer countless varieties of programs to volunteer with street children.

Consortium for Street Children: This organization works to promote the rights of street children and focuses on improving the lives of these children through advocacy, research, and network development.

Streetinvest:This is an excellent initiative that helps train professionals to provide an adult figure to assist and mentor street kids around the world.

Street Kids International: This organization works to end the cycle of poverty with street children, providing vocational skill training as well as other education to help children get jobs in the future.

Contributed by Hana La Rock

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