AMERICA/BOLIVIA - Street children remain an invisible problem

Friday, 8 January 2016 street children  

Piero Teardo

Cochabamba (Agenzia Fides) - Every two evenings a team of professionals of the Casa San José go out on the streets of Quillacollo looking for abandoned children. Quillacollo is a municipality of the urban area of the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia. It is a city where there is a lot of immigration from the Andean region and is full of people going to and from its famous market. Among these people there are children who carry out adults jobs but remain invisible. Some help people to get on buses others beg, clean car windshields at traffic lights in exchange for a little money. It is estimated that about 1,800 street children live in Cochabamba. They leave their homes due to untenable situations of domestic violence and sexual abuse, or abandonment of working parents who leave them alone the whole day, or even for the strong attractiveness of what they consider an easy life. Most cases depend on extreme poverty and the lack of a social protection system that identifies the most vulnerable cases and nothing is done to improve their situation. Casa San Jose takes care of family reintegration - children and parents - with the help of a team of psychologists and educators. When this is not possible the team resorts to family members: uncles, grandparents, older siblings, a group close to the child and offer physical and psychological security. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 08/01/2016)