PROMÉTHÉE HUMANITAIRE : 20 YEARS OF COMMITMENT TO CHILDREN LIVING ON THE STREETS
Because the first human right is to have a childhood.
“Has the world abandoned its children? It is no longer news, but it certainly remains a resounding scandal.” According to UNESCO, “…around half a billion children all over the world are made to suffer and die in conditions of extreme deprivation and distress. Voices to denounce this collective shame have been raised over and over again.“
Everywhere in the world, including France, there are homeless children: sleeping in the streets, on beaches, in cars or under bridges; left to resort to begging, theft, and prostitution. Overwhelmed by fear and without any support, these children are at risk of malaria, AIDS, violence, and the influence of drugs. Children are often pushed to the streets by factors such as the absence of family, uncontrolled urbanization, poverty, unemployment, violence, alcohol, and sometimes a parent’s mental illness.
In order to avoid domestic violence and to search for other support, these children leave their homes and turn to the streets. Cheap and easily accessible drugs, such as paint thinners, serve as refuge for some children, who are trying to forget their physical or mental trauma, hunger, the cold, or repeated rapes.
Another growing problem is that these children can become pawns in political, ideological, and religious conflicts. Living alone, they become prime targets for ringleaders of gangs and other organizations, and are forced to kill, mutilate, kidnap, and torture others in order to be recognized and affiliated.
Two things must be done in order to save children who are living on the street. The first is to provide them fulltime shelter, and the second is to offer them a real path for their future.
Who we are
Prométhée Humanitaire is a non-profit association, recognized on June 17th 1999, focused on children at risk, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.
The difference between us and most associations, which only keep children for two or three years, is that we are committed to supporting children into adulthood if they cannot return to their families.
For 20 years, 160 volunteers have worked in Paris and on the ground to offer children these vital needs: shelter, education and love.
So far, Prométhée Humanitaire has rescued 1500 children from the streets.
Our goal: To take action against marginalization
Prométhée Humanitaire focuses primarily on children living on the streets, of which there are more than 120 million, according to the 2012 UNICEF figures.
Why children living on the streets? Because they are the most disadvantaged.
Prométhée Humanitaire works to raise awareness of the catastrophic situations these children; who are often victims of hunger, disease, assault, and prostitution; live in.
Placing social concerns at the top of its priorities, Prométhée Humanitaire aims to provide children with long-term care. This includes monitoring their health, providing counseling, and integrating children into our centers, without neglecting cultural development.
Prométhée Humanitaire relies on local organizations, who remain the decision-makers. The organizations are selected on strict criteria and must have at least 7 years of experience working with children living on the streets.
Several Prométhée Humanitaire members regularly travel to the field to:
• – Follow the work of our partner associations,
• – Evaluate the context in which they work,
• – Meet with children living on the streets and become aware of the local circumstances before making our partnership choice.
Each child funded by Prométhée Humanitaire is guaranteed, in addition to food and lodging, a real plan for their future including access to educational and cultural activities.
Our international presence
In 2000, Prométhée Humanitaire initiated a project in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, which has a population of about 1.056 million. The center currently houses about 30 children.
Prométhée Humanitiare goes out into the streets in order to meet children in their regular environments – such as markets, outside video stores, clubs, on sidewalks, bus stations, etc. – to build and restore relationships between children, adolescents and adults. This allows the teaching staff to be more present in the community and available to the children.
We have been working in Haiti since 2005 and our center is located in Jacmel, a city of about 170,000 inhabitants which was especially affected by the earthquake of January 12, 2010. We house 13 children in the center and support 10 others. We take care to protect all our children and guarantee them an education until they reach adulthood. In addition, we offer our children a plan for their future and for their social reintegration to the best of our ability.
Our center in Madagascar is located in Mahajanga, a city of about 250,000 inhabitants. The city saw a vast increase in the number of children living on the streets from 2005-2006. We currently house 21 children and support 10 others. We work to protect, educate, organize sporting activities, and cultivate the creativity and curiosity of the children under our care.