Working with Street Children - Our Principles
Casa Alianza's services to street children are based on five core principles:
Children come to us in crisis. Most have been abandoned not only materially but also emotionally. When children arrive at Casa Alianza we don't ask questions - we listen, give them a hot meal, a shower, clean clothers and medical attention. More importantly we offer them a safe place away from the streets.
Children who come to us are generally frightened and mistrustful. To protect them from the dangers of the street it's essential that they feel safe and secure. Our street educators and staff offer the children sanctuary and work hard to build trust. We unconditionally accept any child that comes to us and never make judgements. We listen to the child's story but are not intrusive and don't ask unecessary questions.
Lying, cheating, and stealing are common survival tools on the street. We teach children, by example, that caring relationships should be based on trust, respect and honesty. The key values we promote are respect, honesty, sincerity, solidarity, justice, responsibility and love.
Children on the street live with uncertainty. Where will they find their next meal? Where will they sleep? We provide a routine that gives them stability and helps them focus on the future. The routine also sets expectations on the children and imposes limits on behaviour helping the transition from the street.
We believe that children who have made the difficult decision to run away and live on the streets are capable of making choices. However, often they end up in a self defeating cycle of failure, feel powerless to control their lives and lose hope. We encourage children to believe in themselves and empower them to make serious choices about their future. Children must make their own choices - they mustn't be imposed - we help by giving hope and getting them to think about the long term.