How to combat poverty among the most marginalized children on earth

Street Children and Red Nose Day: Providing Care For Children Living Outside of Families

by Emma @ Red Nose Day

Of the more than 1 billion children living in poverty around the world, those living without the care of a family -- on the streets, in institutions, or on the move -- are some of the most marginalized. Not only do they have to worry about where their next meal comes from or finding a safe place to stay the night, they’re often alone in this experience. They have no one to turn to.

If you’ve followed Red Nose Day for a while, you probably remember Jack Black visiting Felix, a street child in Uganda. Through his story, you can see how difficult it is for street children to survive -- let alone to thrive and reach their full potential. While this issue is incredibly complex, the programs that you help fund when you give to Red Nose Day are some of the most life-changing for street children.

As Red Nose Day’s Grants Manager, I help identify partners and programs that make the most impact on the lives of kids who really need it. In fact, funds raised by Red Nose Day in 2015, 2016, and 2017 will directly impact 88,227 street-connected children and homeless youth, here in the US and around the world.

This impact is delivered through Red Nose Day funding to partners like:

ReTrak: an organization that provides a holistic care for street children and the wider-community in Uganda and Brazil. Red Nose Day funding supports both immediate needs of these children, such as medical treatment and temporary shelter, as well as fostering long-term change for children without families, and helping kids to reunite with their families.

Consortium for Street Children: a global network that raises street children’s voices, promotes their rights and improves their lives. Red Nose Day funding supports innovative direct services for children who rely on the street for their survival, through Consortium’s member organizations.

Covenant House: an organization that offers homeless, trafficked and runaway youth an opportunity to change the trajectory of their lives. They do this through a holistic range of services from medical care and nutritious food to job placement services and long-term housing support. Red Nose Day funds support Covenant House across the United States, as well as in Central America and Mexico.

This topic – while being incredibly important within the work we do – is also very timely. This week, Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day, along with Lumos and the Global Alliance for Children brought together experts and visionaries in the areas of data collection and children’s rights for Children Count: Bridging the Child Data Gap, a summit focused on designing a strategy to ensure children outside of family care count in data collection methodologies, and so are accounted for in programming, policy and support. The event was hosted by the Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, and was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Atlantic Philanthropies.

We’re learning that no one truly knows how many children live outside the care of a family, as national surveys oftentimes only count children living in households. Some estimates suggest that as many as 224 million children are being missed. To help bridge this gap, we need deeper collaboration for data capturing across the private, public, and civil sectors, and we also must focus on empowering and hearing the voices of children who need our help.

We’re so pleased to be part of this conference and to contribute to developing solutions to a very important issue.

More to come, and thanks so much for your support.

- Emma

P.S. If you want to see some insights and conversation from the conference, check out #ChildrenCount17 on Twitter.