European Parliament Debate on Street Children
This week, Retrak was a delegate at the European Parliament Breakfast Debate on International Day of the Street Child hosted by MEP Gay Mitchell and sponsored by Aviva who have been running a long term Street to School project.
The debate featured a range of speakers including the Consortium for Street Children on the importance of the International Day of the Street Child, and SOS Children’s Village International on new opportunities to promote the rights and well-being of children. This was an opportunity for street child organisations to make street connected children issues a priority at European Parliament, Commission and Council level.
The key messages from the debate were that listening to children’s voices is hugely important in designing programmes for them, that a child rights focus is kept and that collaboration between NGOs, the UN, public and private sector will be vital to influence European and national policy.
MEP Gay Mitchell stressed that persuasion, engagement, encouragement and support are all important in challenging MEPs on their position on street connected children worldwide.
Ann Start, Retrak’s Learning and Development Director and representative at the event said that “I’m thankful for the small step today and have a sense of frustration at the current lack of global visibility for street children issues. Retrak’s determination to continue with work that aims for a world where no child is forced to live on the streets is well placed to play a part in policy change for the better and has been encouraged today to work in collaboration with others to this end. To end with the voice of a child ‘the street is not where I want to be’.”