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At the beginning of November, an expert consultation was held in Geneva as part of the study on street children commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council. This was a great opportunity for our in-country coordinator Sarah Kadri to present the research and findings of some of the fantastic participatory work carried out in Taroudannt by the MCT team.

Amidst the many misconceptions surrounding the lives of street children across the world, over the last year the UN Human Rights Council has increasingly recognised the fact that studies on street children should focus on the reasons children end up on the street, the complexities they face on daily basis and, most importantly, the street children themselves deserve to be represented in order to implement future policies and strategies.

Therefore, MCT has been working unremittingly on a project committed to giving street children a voice. The main aim of the research has been to gain a better understanding of the lives of street children in terms of giving the children an opportunity to discuss their situations, hopes, fears, and dreams, as well as their views on the support systems surrounding them and their knowledge of their access to rights.

The research was carried out by facilitating small group discussions and role-play situations with groups separated into similar sex and age groups to ensure maximum confidentiality and comfort. As a result of the close and trusting relationships the street children have with MCT’S social workers, the participatory work revealed important issues. It became apparent that the youths were not accustomed to talking about or aware of their access to rights. However, most of the children are committed to their education and they are becoming increasingly aware of the support systems that are available, especially from MCT’s centre in Taroudannt. Although the children face uncertain and difficult futures, they remain patient and hopeful, and are determined to help others in life. One child said ‘I want to help others. If I am to be asked, what have you done with your life, I want to say that I’ve helped others. The stuff that you do, like giving to those who’ve been deprived of something.’

MCT is continuing to work alongside the UN OHCHR to ensure that Moroccan street children’s voices are heard in order to contribute to the making of new policies and strategies which will aid in creating a brighter future for the lives of street children across the world.