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Rights groups bring attention to street children

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Conference and human chain to raise awareness, coincides with National Day for Street Children

A human chain and press conference were held on Saturday at the Press Syndicate’s headquarters to highlight the plight of street children in Egypt.

Eman Mostafa, the assistant executive director of Banati Foundation which works with homeless children said the human chains were held on the steps of the syndicate. “Our children took part in it,” she said, referring to the children the foundation helps.

The event coincided with the National Day for Street Children which was Saturday, a day that focuses on the problem of child homelessness in Egypt.

The foundation reaches out to children living in the streets and, if they are willing, tries to return the children to their homes. If their families do not wish to take them back, the foundation offers them full stay and provides them with healthcare, education and offers them the chance to engage in various activities like photography.

While the conference was held, photographs taken by the children were displayed in another room to show “they have ambitions and talents, just like other children”, Mostafa said.

The conference was preceded by three human chains last week and it started with a documentary on these human chains.

A cartoon written and created by the children was also played. The cartoon pointed out how familial violence is the main reason children are driven to the streets.  The cartoon was followed by pictures of young girls who were deformed as a result of violence against them.

One of the speakers at the conference also highlighted statistics of children subjected to violence inside police stations. Testimonies of children who had been subjected to this violence were shown in a video.

The conference was organised by several local and international groups concerned with children living in the streets, including the Egyptian Network for Associations Working with Street Children. Banati Foundation is part of this network.


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