Street work is a distinct form of youth work. It can be the first step to positive change in a street child's life.
Street work takes place where the young person is, on the street. It also begins from where young people are in terms of their values, issues and ambitions. It is characterised by an empowering interaction between children and trained adult street workers, founded upon a relationship of trust.
This relationship can be the first step to positive change in a young life.
What does street work look like?
Street work utilises a range of youth and community work methods to engage directly with young people and members of their communities.
Street work activities include group and individual work on the streets. This can include creative and sporting activities, or simply having conversations with a young person one to one.
Street workers also engage communities, including governments. This work challenges the negative attitudes which can lead to systemic discrimination and abuse. Many of the organisations we partner with educate stakeholders about street-connected children and about their duty of care.
The process is as important as the outcome
Regardless of the activities undertaken, the process of street work remains the same. Street work is a rights-based, child centred approach. This means that children are recognised as rights-holders and furthers the realisation of child rights as established in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). It also means that children are recognised as capable agents in their own lives and are involved in decision making.
Because street children face multiple barriers to being heard, valuing them and understanding their experiences, perspectives, wishes and feelings is vital. Being child-centred begins by creating a safe, supportive and enabling environment in which children can express their views and have these views taken seriously.