The original article was published on April 14, 2013, by Daily News Egypt. You can find an excerpt of the article below.
It is easy for us to categorise and label street children. To us, they are ruthless criminals, beggars, the puppets of unknown forces, drug addicts or miserable victims. They all come from the same background, probably a slum. They were either kicked out of their homes or they chose the street as a space of unlimited fun and freedom. But all our categories, all our labels, are highly deficient.
Ironically, NGOs and individuals who work with street children or advocate for their rights largely stick to those same labels. Instead of condemning what the street children do, however, they find excuses and explanations and address our compassion with heart-breaking stories. These stories are true and heart-breaking but it is questionable whether telling them serves the goal of advocating street children’s rights or if they merely serve to “raise awareness”.
While “raising awareness” sounds noble, its true impact is often overrated. We are all aware that there are street children, we see them every day. What we are not aware of is that it is our perception of street children that must change. We have to become aware that the barrier that exists between “us” and “them” is of our own creation and cannot be overcome by pity alone. In fact, pity is counterproductive as it only deepens the gap between “us” and “them”.
You can read the full article here.