Friday, December 8, 2006
ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
A survey looking into street children and their problems has revealed that children have greater expectations for the future, though they are barely able to earn a living under difficult conditions.
�Living Conditions and Future Expectations of Street Children,� carried out by Anadolu University in the central Anatolian province of Eskişehir, aimed at exposing problems encountered by street children and making recommendations to solve those problems. Some 198 street children between the ages of nine and 14, 13 of whom were girls, were surveyed.
According to the survey street children who make their living by selling simit (savory rolls covered with sesame seeds), tissues and gum or by shining shoes earn an income that is below the minimum wage, which in Turkey is around YTL 400. Surprisingly, an overwhelming majority of those polled don’t have any bad habits despite the negative environment they live in and have greater expectations for the future.
Some 70 percent of street children in Eskişehir attend schools and work outside in order to meet their school expenses, according to the survey. But they are not successful at school courses since they spend most of their time working in the streets.
Approximately 50 percent want to join the military, become a doctor, a policeman or an engineer. Ninety-seven percent of respondents smoke, according to the survey. One-and-a-half percent were subjected to sexual abuse and 8 percent survived being hit by a car.
Yener Şişman of Anadolu University said the laws were insufficient in preventing the problems faced by street children but added it would be possible to generate solutions by looking for the roots of the problems. �In Turkey almost 3.85 million out of a total of 28 million children work in the streets. The number of street children is increasing by the day. There is a need for sound projects in order to solve such social problems,� he said.
�Children who are forced to work in the streets can be subject to unhealthy conditions in their working environment. The problem of street children persists because the roots of the problem remain unsolved, the distribution of income is unfair and poverty remains a problem,� he added.