Toybox, a charity based in Bletchley which supports children living and working on the streets, is aiming to help 105 street children to return to school in Nepal this term.
More than one-third of 10-14 year olds in Nepal go to work and are therefore unable to attend school full time
For a family reliant on the street in Kathmandu, the cost of essentials must come first. Rent, food and hygiene are of course the absolute priority for a family which might earn anything around £1.40 per working member of the household, per day to try to cover these basic needs.
The informal job market where many street children and their parents source an income is not accompanied by sick pay, redundancy or annual leave. Any absence from work, including the loss of earnings from pandemic-related closures including restaurants, hotels or driving work, cannot be recovered. Many street families have found the need to take out a loan to cover costs which they are now working hard to repay or face eviction.
Children working on the streets
In Nepal, street children can be found working all day rag picking and selling; collecting rags from the street and selling them on, doing domestic work or pot washing in local restaurants.
At Toybox we believe no children should be working and denied the opportunity of an education to help them leave behind life on the streets.
85% of street children in Nepal are illiterate
Toybox is fundraising to provide new school uniforms and stationery kits to assist children with their learning and to move to a life where they are no longer dependent on the streets.
Not only are these items important in schooling, lack of them can make street children stand out at school. We know that discrimination exists for street children and their families, but we know it also exists in schools. We want street children to be treated fairly by teaching staff and their classmates regardless of where they are living or what their family income is, we want to see them succeed in school and build a future for themselves, away from the street.
“Primary education in Nepal is free, school supplies and uniforms are not and for poor families this can make the difference between attending school and not.”
Naomi Opiyo-Hall, Director of Impact and Programmes at Toybox explains: “Our local partner SathSath has been working alongside street children in Nepal since 1998 to assist street connected children and young people to develop skills, build confidence and learn how to exercise their rights in society. SathSath’s work includes a focus on non-formal education which provides a few hours of classes a day (around work commitments and domestic chores) to reach a sufficient academic level to (re)join school.
“As a result of their interventions, which also includes raising awareness on the importance of education among parents, we often see children like 10-year-old Bibek make the decision to join the formal school system, appreciating the long-term value of education to turn their lives around and give hope of a better future. From sniffing glue and collecting coins on the streets, Bibek has received support to overcome his addiction, has 100% school attendance and came third in his exams highlighting what a life changing opportunity education is, experiencing the joy of learning new things alongside other children gained from attending school.
“Although primary education in Nepal is free, school supplies and uniforms are not and for poor families this can make the difference between attending school and not. Figures by Unicef state that 770,000 children aged 5-12 years old in Nepal out of school, mostly these are girls, poorer children, those with disabilities or engaged in child labour. These numbers are likely to be much higher since the pandemic and its vital we give these children a second chance at receiving an education.”
Help Toybox provide school supplies for 105 street children
With your help Toybox can encourage and support more street children in Nepal to flourish in school. If you are able to help a street child today, please take a look at our gifts of a school uniform (£14) and a stationery kit (£6). Our goal is to help 105 children in Nepal get back to school with these necessities this school year.
A gift of £20 will help a street child to be equipped and ready for the new school term.
To purchase a gift for a street child in Nepal please click here