Working with street-connected children in Nepal
Established in 2000, Voice of Children (VoC) work with children living on the streets, and have increasingly started to work with families and wider communities in the urban slum communities where many children on the streets come from. The goal of their work with street-connected children is to enable sustainable reintegration back into families and communities.
VoC also work to protect all Nepali children from any form of sexual abuse by raising awareness of child sexual abuse and offering legal, social and psychological support to sexually abused children and their families.
VoC adopt what they call a “ladder approach” which involves initially making contact with street-connected children and encouraging them to attend their drop-in centre. Children then enter short-term residential care, before either being reintegrated back to families, being supported to live independently (if they are over 15), or in a few cases, entering foster care.
VoC are the first agency in Nepal to trial foster care. They have worked with nearly 1500 children using the ladder approach — of whom 664 have been reintegrated back into families. They have also carried out activities to prevent separation with over 10,000 children / families. In fact, VoC work very closely with government, and their ladder methodology has been incorporated into official policy.
VoC’s work in child sexual abuse involves advocacy and awareness raising, including developing films and media campaigns and work with schools. They have also directly intervened in cases where children who are being abused need support. So far, VoC have trained nearly 5000 stakeholders and reached 60,000 students through their work in schools.
Notably, like most agencies in Nepal, VoC became quite heavily involved in the earthquake relief effort and this work is still ongoing. Initially, VoC provided emergency relief materials and have since worked to prevent an increase in trafficking and the sexual abuse of children in camps for those displaced by the earthquake.