Stigma continues to hinder interactions with street children, with many assuming they may have mental health issues or are criminals.
Aruka Fiji’s Founder, Ratu Inoke Drauna, notes that due to this prejudice, these children often lack the necessary support and care to improve their lives and feel a sense of belonging.
A study by Aruka Fiji uncovers that numerous children consider the streets their home, primarily because they feel unloved by their parents.
Ratu Inoke says a simple greeting can significantly uplift the spirits of these street dwellers.
“It’s just having that consistency of showcasing that compassion that is required from most of them. Some of us will just walk past them. I believe that is something that we really need to be mindful of as to how best we can try and restore their sense of belonging.”
Ahava Project Founder, Naina Senito shares how some families have also turned a blind eye on their members.
“She’s a sex worker and the question that I asked her – during the years that you have spent in the streets, what is the most challenging moment for you? And she answered back and said that the most challenging and painful moment for me is to be on the street and see a relative, or my mom and dad pass by and will never even say Hi or Good Bye, or even give food money.”
The two organizations believe that this issue can only be dealt with if the agencies work together.
Aruka Fiji and Ahava Project Fiji have a goal of creating a safe space of the street kids and the teen sex workers.