All names have been changed so as to protect the identities of the research participants.
During my research with (former) female street children in Cairo, I did not just ask the girls about their own experiences on and off the street, but also about their opinion on the street children discourse itself and about their own conceptual understanding of ‘street children’, ‘street boys’ or ‘street girls’. By doing so, I tried to do more than simply listen to the children’s ‘stories’ (I have a problem with this term since it suggests the existence of one linear story that can be told and listened to, whereas the outcome of my interviews with the children painted a very different image). My objective was to include them in the research process itself. They were the experts on a topic I was interested in, and by consulting them, discussing with them and benefitting from their expertise, the children became research participants, even co-researchers, in the actual sense of the term. (more…)