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82164_Chapter_11.pdf

1998 p 214 in this sense argued hecht street children

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(1998, p. 214) In this sense, argued Hecht, street children “embody the failure of an unacknowledged social apartheid to keep the poor out of view. At home in the street, they are painful reminders of the dangerous and endangered world in which we live” (1998, p. 214). As depressing and bleak as the situation of Brazil’s street children is, negative reactions to the problem and cries of outrage (both internationally and domestically) have resulted in many new programs, many new policies, and much-needed legislation (Rosenblatt, 2012). Also the situation improved somewhat as the economy in Brazil improved significantly beginning around 2003, lifting millions of people out of poverty. However, it has stagnated recently and is currently in a deep recession that presents a challenge for earlier action and improvements regarding street children. Much of the action to address the problem of street children has been spurred by nongov- ernmental organizations (NGOs) that have no government affiliation, pro- mote change, and address various social and economic problems at the community or grassroots level. As Rizzini and colleagues noted, implement- ing these laws “to make a real difference in the everyday lives of all children in Brazil is the challenge that lies ahead” (1994, p. 98; also see Bush & Rizzini, 2011; Rosenblatt, 2012). Also we must not overlook the agency and resiliency of street children and must strive to understand their perceptions Copyright ©2018 by SAGE Publications, Inc. This work may not be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means without express written permission of the publisher. Draft Proof - Do not copy, post, or distribute
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CHAPTER 11: Children, Social Problems, and Society 311 of their lives. Advocacy research shows that independence and freedom are important motivations for choosing street life, and street children report they often look out for one another and build strong group solidarity (Ataöv & Haider, 2006; Gadd, 2016; Rizzini & Butler, 2003). Progress and Setbacks in Kenya More and more, children in many of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa find themselves on urban streets in a struggle for the economic survival of their families (Bass, 2004; Droz, 2006; Evans, 2006; Van Blerk, 2005). The causes of their poverty are similar to the causes of poverty in countries of South America. The main culprit is the severe recession of the 1980s and the resulting debt crisis. Kenya is a good example of what is happening in many parts of Africa. After gaining political independence in 1963, and continuing until 1980, Kenya’s national economy was one of the strongest in Africa. The annual total gross national product growth averaged 9.7%, with inflation and unemployment’s remaining relatively low (Y. Bradshaw, Buchmann, & Mbatia, 1994). However, economic growth then slowed and reached a point of nearly zero growth in the early 1990s. Inflation also increased dramatically to a rate of more than 40%, resulting in severe hardships for many citizens.
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