Mobile youth work for children and young people on the streets
They are young and know nothing more than begging, stealing and taking drugs. Caritas in Georgia is bringing them off the streets.
Together with Caritas international, the relief organisation of the German Caritas Association, the Redel Foundation provided support in 2016 for the mobile youth work of Caritas Georgia. This has meant regular support for children and young people living on the streets. A centre provides the protected space they need, along with plenty of opportunities to explore new perspectives for a life off the streets.
Children and young people from difficult social backgrounds are those most at risk of poverty in Georgia. Many parents experiencing financial hardship, who are unemployed or in precarious work, are not in a position to adequately care for their children. These children are often left to their own devices. Many turn to the streets, despite still officially living at home or at least sleeping there at night. Others have run away due to issues with domestic violence. They make their way by begging on the street; some have lost one or even both parents.
Mobile youth work
Social workers, psychologists and volunteers drive to remote areas looking for the children and young people who need their help. They meet with approximately 600 children who are living in very difficult circumstances. The aim of the mobile youth work is to get talking to these young people, to gain their trust and build a relationship with them.
The social workers provide information about the services of Caritas and invite the young people to visit the centre for street children that is open during the day. Here, they can relax, receive hot meals, shower and freshen up, spend time in the playroom and talk about things that have nothing to do with life on the streets. For some, this is where they will meet adults who actually listen to what they have to say, who take their concerns seriously and offer them help and guidance. Anyone who is sick or injured is provided with medical assistance. Ninety children living in difficult circumstances – whether on the streets or as children of very poor families – visit the youth centre of Caritas Georgia on a regular basis. Here, they receive basic tuition in reading, writing and mathematics, or take part in courses covering topics such as healthy living, violence prevention, protection against HIV/AIDS, drugs or non-violent communication. In the youth centre, the children will find a wide range of psychosocial counselling services and practical advice to help them organise their everyday lives. Together with vocational schools and education-oriented organisations, Caritas Georgia also holds workshops that provide young people with skills for the workplace.