Risk Reduction

The philosophy at CPCS is the belief that the first step towards the rehabilitation and reintegration of street children involves risk reduction, which is comprised of short-term actions to reduce the dangers of street life.

Doing “risk reduction” can sound like too little ambitious, fatalistic, as if we dedicated street children to an inevitable and immutable reality. Critics on the dangers of the facilitation of the street life are numerous and often appropriate. The shelters or “dropping centers” are often criticized around the world by international or local organizations that prefer field action, direct rehabilitation, prevention or prohibitive actions, trainings,…

It is a fact that the shelters exist neither to “store” the children nor to leave them in their condition. Nevertheless, we are convinced that the shelters, in Nepal like elsewhere, can be a place of continued learning, of informal or technical education, of civic rights and duty training, a place of welcome, of listening, a place where to rest, to get food and a possible bridge to a reinsertion into the family and school.

Working on “risk reduction” certainly takes makes much sense in Nepal, if we consider a simple but terrible fact: more than 30% of the street children will remain on the street and more than 40% of the remaining children will join society at a low or very low social level.

Moreover, we are convinced that it is important to give the children simple but necessary tools permitting them to survive and even to live in an environment that will never be easy. To learn how to read, to write, to count, to be aware of their rights, to know what the society means by good and wrong, to be able to live with other people, to avoid drugs, prostitution, alcoholism, violence… To have an access to medical care, some basis of hygiene, self-respect, to have a warm place where to sleep and get food: these are the educative and practical components that we must provide with each child.

The “risk reduction” program focuses on these last points, and we hope that we will be able to do more for the children in a second step and that, taking into account their ways, their desires and choices, it will be possible to bring them back to school, to their family, society…