Street workers are inspirational, ordinary, local people doing an extraordinary job and who represent a lifeline for street children.
Street workers (often known as outreach workers, street educators, field workers) are similar to detached or community youth workers in the UK. They are responsible, trustworthy, trained, local people who work on the streets with and for street children.
StreetInvest supports the sustained employment of street workers through direct investments and the development and sharing of best practice for street work.
The street worker is the first step to new possibilities for street children:
- Uncovering opportunities and exploring options
- Recognising and building on strengths
- Dealing with conflicts
- Providing access to healthcare, education or family
- Acting on their behalf with third parties (family, police, schools, etc)
- Realise and advocate for street children's rights
- Providing a framework for child protection
The street worker takes himself to the streets, with all his care, with all his feelings and above all with commitment that will not waiver when the first child tells him to go away.
The street worker is present when other workers are going home at 5 p.m. The street worker's office is the street and community. The street worker conveys a message to the child that ‘You are important' and ‘whatever your story is I am interested to know and to help.' The Street Worker does not blame or punish.
Effective Principles of Street Work
A holistic view of the guiding principles around street work, its practice and the supporting structures that need to be in place to ensure street work ‘works’ for children and young people.PDF Download
Building a relationship of trust with the child is the most important prerequisite for any effective street work
A case study: Ivy Masenda
StreetInvest has provided funding for Ivy Masenda to pay her expenses as a volunteer Street Worker in Harare, Zimbabwe, working principally in support of girls on the street:
Their job is to understand the world of the Street child and bring that understanding into his relationships with street children. It is from this relationship of trust and understanding that possibilities can be explored, wishes, wants and needs listened to and solutions found.
The street worker listens, challenges, is consistent and reliable. He can tell us what street children need. Through these relationships and networks the Street Worker provides a pathway to family, education, work skills, healthcare, safety, identity and dignity.
Street Work is a deeply human process driven by workers who strive to support, care, challenge and protect the rights and needs of Street children. Without Street Workers many children are alone, frightened, imprisoned, sidelined, recruited by gangs, abused and even killed.