At Mobile School, we put these children in the spotlight and grant them access to their rights on the streets with our mobile schools. In 2011, we decided to set up a yearly campaign in cooperation with the Consortium of Street Children to dedicate an International Day to street children, on April 12th.
This year, after 7 years of campaigning, important progress was made. The Committee on the Rights of the Child just published a “General Comment on Children in Street Situations”. This is an official advice to governments worldwide on possible measures to grant street-connected children access to the same rights as all other children.
Unfortunately, that access is still far from obvious. Children in the street are often discriminated against and they are not seen as individuals with rights. That’s why this General Comment details the rights to equality, to life and survival, to expressing an opinion, to freedom, identity, health, information, … specifically in a street-connected context.
On this first schoolday, the right to education is of course particularly relevant. The General Comment explicitly states that “accessible, free, safe, relevant and quality education is crucial to preventing children from ending up in street situations, and fulfilling the rights of children already in street situations.” The right to play and leisure is also analysed. “States should adopt measures to ensure that children in street situations have play opportunities and that they can develop their creativity.”
In addition, the importance of non-formal education is emphasised, taking into consideration that the classical educational system alone cannot answer all the needs in the current situation. Besides second-chance education, catch-up classes, vocational training, intensive coaching and formal education, the mobile school is also mentioned as a possible tool.
The goal is clear: “All these forms of education should focus on strengthening children’s autonomy and on empowering them, so they can better deal with risk situations. Non-formal and street education are essential to reach out-of-school children and to offer them a second chance.”
For Mobile School, these points are very important. Not only is the mobile school mentioned as a tool for non-formal education, but we also view this as a confirmation of our vision and, hence, an important recognition of our work. This is all the more motivating for us, to strengthen our engagement at the start of this new school year and to make sure that in the future, even more children get a chance to learn and discover their talents by playing on the streets at the mobile school. You can read the complete text of the General Comment here.
On this 1st of September, we wish all children a good start of an instructive school year, in which they can learn to believe in their own potential. We hope that they will get the chance to fully develop this potential, whatever their situation is.