Vulnerability among children and youth in São Paulo. : A qualitative study of children living in a slum area, an occupied building and on the streets.
Abstract: Children living in vulnerability as living on the street has been a well discussed issue for a long time. The importance of addressing the factors of why children are living in vulnerability along with what concrete actions that can be taken to help these children to a safer life have formed the ground for this study. I conducted five semi-structured interviews with adults working with children and youth living in vulnerability in São Paulo, such as living in an occupied building so called occupation, in a slum area so called favela or on the streets. To receive a deeper understanding of the issue, four observations related to the different vulnerable living conditions were implemented. There are several factors found in the study that are arguing for the fact that children living in favelas or in an occupation are living well and are not living in vulnerability. The social movement engaged in these situations is providing the children with housing and other social rights, such as education and personal growth. On the other hand, there are numerous factors found in the study that confirms that children that are living on the street are living in vulnerability, since they get exposed to situations of violence, crime, drugs etcetera. One of the main reasons found in the study of why children are living on the streets in São Paulo are because they run away as a consequence of abuse or maltreatment. Another main reason is that they are kicked out or sent to the streets by their parents due to moral issues, for example unwanted pregnancy or homosexuality, or to earn money for the family, respectively. Overall, the study revealed that there are laws, public policies and social programs to guarantee children’s and youth’s rights, such as the constitution of children and adolescent rights. These have not been implemented properly or the people that have the right to access the policies or programs are not aware of them. Another conclusion drawn from the study is that there are some concrete actions that can be taken to help children and youth living in vulnerability in São Paulo to a better life. For example, that they should be provided with housing, education and social rights. To enable this, the government should refund the social programs that they have been cutting funding from, such as Bolsa Família [a Brazilian social welfare program for poor families].
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