Center of Children Working in Streets

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Besides being the second largest city of Turkey, Ankara is also an industrial and commercial centre. Its population of only 30,000 during the early years of the newly founded Republic of Turkey (1920s) increased to approximately 5 million by 2013. This growth in population originates from internal migration. Declaration of Ankara as the Republic’s new capital and its location on the Anatolian peninsula in the centre of the intercity network of transportation and railroad systems had significant impact in this growth. Causes of internal migration (except for the forced immigration) to Ankara were, primarily, better living conditions that the city offered and easier access to all types of services. Rapid growth of population in Ankara brought with itself unplanned urbanization and several social, cultural and economic problems associated with the internal migration. This growth brought central and local governments in confrontation with huge problems that are very difficult to deal with in issues such as infrastructure, housing and employment, especially after the 1980s. Although necessary works were carried out and shortcomings were eliminated by the central and local governments regarding the housing and infrastructure; supply of food, water and other needs for families living in illegal housing zones as a result of unplanned urbanization remained at a limited level While poor education or lack of occupational skills was not a major problem in rural areas, they resulted in unemployment and being deprived of basic necessities in urban life. Parents faced significant difficulties in finding themselves a place in the labour market and inability of parents to meet basic necessities resulted in tendency to commit crimes and child labour. Children began working in the streets of Ankara either to make a contribution to the family budget or buy education materials and make pocket money. Children working in the streets generally did shoe-shining, wiping car windshields, or selling tissues, pencils, Turkish bagels, bottled water etc. Children, some of which were even younger than primary school age, were often confronted with all kinds of abuse while working in the streets. Children at the age of compulsory education having to work caused setbacks or even total interruption in their education. Such environment prepared all the circumstances that push children, who were the architects of our future, to become unsociable individuals rather than presenting them a good future. In 1997, there were over 5,000 children in Ankara between the age of 7 and 14, who actively worked in the streets under such circumstances and could not live their childhood. This situation affected not only the children but also other citizens who might be exposed to crime and their perception of the children working in streets. Whilst volatile substance addiction of children working in the streets and their involvement in crimes such as stealing and snatching caused the development of a negative judgment against these children in the society, humane sentiments that people had for these children made them buy the products they sold. This situation enabled poor parents to obtain the money they expect from their children and inevitably, encouraged child labour. On the other hand, children ended up becoming the breadwinners and started life with a heavy burden on their shoulders. Continuation of this problem despite the ban of the child labour and implementation of punitive measures convinced us that legal precautions would be insufficient for solving this problem. In summary, the following facts drew attention regarding more than 5000 children in Ankara: - They work in the streets, - They have partially or totally broken away from education, - They cannot benefit from any social, cultural or sports facilities, - They carry a very heavy burden on their shoulders as breadwinners, - They face all types of bad habits including addiction to incapacitating agents, - They have a tendency to get involved or to turn to crime, - They are excluded and marginalized by the society, - They cannot live their childhood, - They are faced with a serious “danger” rather than being a threat to the society

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
In order to prevent child labour, “Children Working in Ankara Streets Project” was initiated and a Centre was founded for Children Working in Ankara Streets in 1993 with a protocol signed on 4 December 1992 following the launch of the International Programme on Elimination of Child Labour (ILO-IPEC) in Turkey in 1992. Although ILO stopped its support to the program in 1997, Ankara Metropolitan Municipality renewed the Centre for Children Working in Ankara Streets and continued its services after 1997 with its own means since the problem was not solved completely. Taking into consideration all dangers and disadvantages that the children working in the streets could face, “Centre for Children Working in Streets” was founded in a region close to streets where children generally worked in, which became an important research centre for the understanding of the problem. Following a detailed problem analysis, it is established that the solution could not be achieved only with precautions and banning and that at the roots of the problem lied factors arising from urban poverty caused by internal immigration. Consequently, it was understood that cooperation of family, school and the Centre for Children Working in Streets was necessary while tackling this issue. The Centre was able to implement preventative measures through meetings held with the families while it continued its activities with a team of specialists in order to make up for the shortages in these disadvantaged areas by providing social, cultural, psychological, sports, educational, health and food services. During this process, one of the major goals of the centre was to gain access to all the children working in the streets and their families. Some of these children either could not start school at the age of compulsory education, or continue attending school due to poverty. The centre focuses on encouraging children to go to school or support those who are going to school with their education and aims to prevent all types of neglect and abuse of children. Accordingly, causes that make children work in streets were investigated and interviews were held with the families of children who worked because of family pressure or in order to contribute to the family budget. Trainings were provided to these families at the Centre in subjects such as family communication in order to raise awareness. Families were provided food and fuel for heating three times a year, which they gave as a reason for having to make their children work. Unemployed parents were registered in occupational training courses and provided with jobs whilst some were placed in jobs as unskilled workers in order to ensure that they were the breadwinners. Difficulties and problems that will arise due their children’s absence from school were shared with the families. Children who were registered in schools were followed through cooperation with the schools. Poor attendance of children to school were notified to the Centre for Children Working in Streets which then held meetings with children and their families to ensure that they continued their education. As a result of these efforts, the number of children working in the streets has decreased every year and currently there are almost no children continuously working in the streets. However, the problem of working in streets continued for some children. These children are being encouraged to stay close to the Centre through help provided for their lessons and other services that they can benefit from. The areas that the Centre should provide services in were identified following a comparison made between the children working in the streets due to poverty and other children in order to find out the disadvantages. The following services are provided at the centre where specialist educators, social workers and psychologists work, in addition to the support given for the personal development of the children. - It was understood that the education level of the families were generally at intermediate or primary school level therefore, they struggled in helping their children with their lessons. Study centres were established in the Centre to provide support to the children in their lessons and assignments through branch teachers. - Computer classes were formed to provide internet access to children in order to enable them to search for the information they need for their homework or in their areas of interest. - As there are no sports facilities in the districts they live or very limited in schools they attend, an indoor sports facility was opened to encourage them engaging in sports activities. - Courses were opened in various branches to provide them the platform to get rid of their energies and hold on to life with sports. - A painting studio was founded in order to develop the artistic skills of the children and assist talented children to enable them to enter fine arts high schools and faculties. - A library was founded in order to help children to gain reading habits and develop their creativity through brain teasers. - Playing grounds were opened for the most important activity of childhood. Some of these children who do not have even a single toy can now play with the toys and games available in the Centre. On this opportunity, children are motivated to spend their time at the Centre instead of working in streets in order to prevent child labour eliminate their disadvantages caused by poverty by providing them the means to gain more skills and present them a chance for a good future.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
According to Article 1 of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, anyone below the age of 18 is considered a child. Child Labour may also be described as a form of employment that harm and exploit children below 18 years old physically, mentally and morally and depriving them of education. On the other hand, ILO defines them as “working children” or “child workers” who are below 15 years of age, work in order to contribute to the family budget or earn their living. Distinction made by ILO is accepted in our country too by the Labour Act No. 4857 and children below 15 years of age were defined as child workers and their employment is prohibited by the Article 71 of the same law. Heavy penalties to families and employers who make children work or employ them and law prohibiting such act intended to prevent child labour throughout the world however, these types of measures have proven to be insufficient in preventing children from working in the streets when the cause is poverty based. On the other hand, an important conclusion of UNICEF Turkey Office regarding child labour is quoted below: “Children who work in the streets often quit their schools too. Although it is not considered a definite and inevitable outcome, even those who can attend school achieve below their own capacities.” In order to save children working from the streets and In line with all these legal grounds and findings, Centre for Children Working in Streets has not only supported families economically and provided parents occupational training to help them secure a place in the labour market, it has also carried out an innovative and effective work through supportive educational programs to enable these children to attend their schools and use their capacities in full. The most distinctive characteristic of the Centre amongst the other programs is the fact that the centre is not confining itself with including only the children into the process as the target audience but trying to solve the problem by taking into consideration all the surrounding factors such as the family, school and society.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
After the consideration of the problem and all the associated surrounding factors, the activities of the Centre were be implemented with an approach which continuously updates itself. The following strategic actions constitute the basis of the implementation plan that the Centre will be carrying out in order to eliminate the problem of children working in the streets. - Identification of the children working in the streets, their registration and introduction of the Centre to the children - Encouraging the children to come to the Centre by making the Centre more attractive through decorative work. - Providing necessary means that will ensure children’s access to the Centre and maintain regular attendance - Providing all social, cultural, sports, artistic and educational services to the children, which they normally do not have access to - Holding courses and seminars that would develop vocational skills and raise awareness of families while supporting them financially, - Displaying the achievements of the children receiving educational help at the Centre therefore attracting other children with its multiplier effect, - Monitoring the children until the end of their education and observing employment status of those who complete their education, - Developing the relations of children with their peers through interactive contests, exhibitions, activities, etc. and discouraging social discrimination, - Ensuring children’s participation in the educational and skill development courses rather than just making use of the playing grounds, These strategic actions are put into service in the following order; Field Work Field work is carried out by assigned personnel for the identification of children who work in the streets and their guidance to the Centre. Field work is mainly carried out in districts where children generally work. Information is also received from children attending the Centre for reaching other children in such situations. Registration of Children at the Centre Children between ages of 7 and 14 who are identified through field work or applied to the centre through school, relatives and friends are registered upon presentation of their ID cards, addresses and school information. Registration form also includes information about the children’s educational status, school details and information on the families’ socio-economic status. In some cases, information required on the registration forms is updated after meetings held with their families or administrators and teachers at their schools. Family Visits Following the registration procedure, Social Service specialists make a situation assessment and arrange family visits if and as necessary in accordance with the report they prepare. Family visits are made by Social Service specialists who determine the needs of the families and the children during these visits. In accordance with the report prepared after the visit, the families are provided with social benefits and consultancy services. Monitoring School Attendance All children registered at the Centre are monitored in respect to registration at school and their attendance. Families of children who are not registered at a school are visited and the reasons for not attending a school are investigated. Necessary conditions for children’s attendance are provided and registration at school is attained. The schools and families of children, who are registered at a school but have poor attendance, are also visited and their attendance status is closely monitored. The Centre works in collaboration with the school and the family throughout the whole process. Benefiting from the Interest and Skills Course Activities Children are guided to various courses during their registration, taking into consideration their interests and skills. Their participation is provided in courses such as theatre, folk dances, computers, painting, music, football, wrestling, judo, taekwondo, etc. Courses are given by master trainers in accordance with the curriculum. Handcrafted objects or paintings made by the children are displayed at showrooms of the municipality and in private centres. Children who pass the exams to be admitted to fine-arts high schools with the assistance of the courses at the Centre continue their studies at the Centre and become a good role model for other children. Free Field Activities and Cultural Activities In addition to interest and skills courses, children are provided to make use of various play grounds. In these playgrounds, table tennis, mini golf, pool, mini-basketball and several other sports tools are presented for the use of children. No curriculum is prepared for these playgrounds but teachers teach children how to play and how to use these tools. Municipality unit in charge (Social Services Department Directorate) prepares monthly cultural activities programs. Activities such as conferences, panels, concerts, theatre, painting exhibitions, etc. are organized under the scope of the program. Follow-up Assigned personnel follow-up children’s attendance to school and whether or not they are working, and if they are working, its frequency and the changes in their behaviour. Interviews are made with children who are not in rapport with other children or who do not behave according to stipulated rules. According to the result of the interview, psycho-social support unit may be applied. If this also proves insufficient, action to be taken for the child is decided in a meeting held with the participation of administrator, unit trainer and social service specialist. Moreover children who reach to the age of leaving the Centre are guided to register themselves with Youth Centre of the Municipality and benefit from the services provided there. Children who go to universities are invited to the Centre to motivate activities carried out at the Centre and to be role-models for other children. Some children are even employed at the Centre as trainers after they complete their education, as they can understand the children much better.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The most distinctive characteristic of the centre, as mentioned above, is not considering the problem as indexed to children but preventing children working on the streets and ensuring continuation of their education as a definite solution by including all the surrounding factors into the process. A permanent support mechanism is devised for children who, despite all supports, continue working in streets in order to prevent them to fall behind their capacities. During the implementation stage, the below-mentioned stakeholders contributed to the solution of the problem and establishment of a sustainable model. One of the most important factors for the success of this practice is the observation of the positive developments in the futures of the children who benefit from the facilities in the Centre by the other children who join the centre after them. - Collaboration with the Police department was established in order to protect children from the risk of being pushed into crime, teach them the concept of crime primarily and take necessary precautions in accordance with their tendencies. Accordingly, Police Academy students form a friendship with children at the Centre in order to try to understand them and gain an important experience regarding how to protect them from the possible risks before the constitution of crimes. - Collaboration with school administrations was established at schools where the children are registered in order to be informed about their attendance and notified immediately if they leave school. Sometimes, the children who do not go to school, or who come to the centre during the school hours and their families are interviewed and problems are analysed in depth leading to preventing children dropping out of school. - Although services provided at the centre have a positive impact on the development of these children, inclusion of the civil society into the process, development of a better awareness in terms of their attitude and behaviour towards the children who work in streets, and providing a platform where children are able to meet their elders from various professional groups are the key elements of an important cooperation that enable the children dream of a better future. - Pictures, various materials produced from recyclable goods and other artwork made by the children at the centre are exhibited at Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Exhibition Hall and Subway Exhibition Hall, and the achievements of the children are shared with the society. Successful works of the youngsters are later exhibited at the Belgium Embassy.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The Centre was initially set up at a small section of a floor within the multi-storey car park at Sıhhıye district of Ankara before the entire floor (5,400 m2) was allocated for the centre as a result of the increasing demand for the Centre and its facilities. The Centre is open for 7 days a week between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. where 45 teachers, administrative and support personnel are employed. Participants of the activities organized in cooperation with NGO’s consist of volunteers. The Centre also serves lunch for children who cannot afford to provide themselves with the necessary nutrition. Ankara Metropolitan Municipality has been funding the activities and operational costs of the centre since 1997. Presenting a better future to children, ensuring that they continue their education without any interruption and preventing them to remain under their capacities will also make them stronger at times of any possible economic crisis. Examining Eurostat data given on the graph (Please see: OECD Economics Department Working Papers No. 1040 Page: 7 Figure 4, shows that the level of education was not a very important factor for unemployment in 2000 and before. However, after 2000 and especially during the economic crisis, it shows that education level was a very influential factor in Spain where there were so many youngsters affected from crisis. Therefore, besides today’s conditions, preventing these children dropping out of their schools before any potential crisis stands out as an important factor. The evaluation of the human energy, financial and other resources spent for this Centre, which provides services for such lofty purposes, on benefit/cost basis are the other factors in sustaining the work at the centre. Social workers and psychologists employed for the purpose of establishing a healthy communication with children also provide information to the other personnel regarding the attitude that should be adopted towards children and the most effective ways of establishing a dialog with them. The Centre is established at a place close to the areas where children work, however children cannot be forced to come to the Centre. House visits often provide an insight that these children do not even get the essential nutrients and therefore suffer from malnutrition. Another observation is the fact that some of the children do not want to spend the money they earn on food. Therefore, free lunch is served at the Centre, which provides the children the full nutrition requirement for at least one meal a day. In addition, free bus services are provided by the Municipality between the districts the children live and the Centre, so that they can benefit from the Centre. The purpose is not only provide lunch or facilities to children at the Centre, but also keep them away from potential dangers in the districts they live and surroundings areas. The Centre also carries out Periodical health checks and offers personal healthcare services. The following services are provided to children at the Centre under six categories; • Social and Cultural Activities • Educational Support • Health Services • Sports Services • Catering Services • Psychological- Social Support Services and courses given under these categories are: Health screening and personal care, hot meal (casseroles), library, study centre, computer, wrestling, Taekwondo, Judo, chess- Abolone, table-tennis, table soccer, snooker, theatre, folklore dances, folk songs, baglama (a Turkish stringed musical instrument), guitar, piano, organ, painting and handicrafts. Entertainment programs and birthday celebrations are often held at the Centre which also organizes inner and outer city tours for the children.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The most important achievements of the Centre are as follows: - Number of children working in Ankara streets was reduced from over 5 thousand to less than one thousand including the children under risk and despite the increasing population and internal migration during the past 15 years. This was achieved through helping their households, meeting the families, providing vocational education programs to parents who are unemployed due to insufficient education as well as the social, sports, educational, cultural and artistic support provided by the Centre. - Attendance to school was achieved for children who had to drop out of school due to poverty and need to work in streets. Study programs in science and social sciences courses were initiated in order to help children with their lessons and ensure that they do not to fall behind their capacities. These children had a chance to complete their higher education in fine arts, sports and vocational high schools and universities with the help of these courses. - Preventing of children working in the streets not only protected them from the negative physical, mental and psychological at an early age, but also kept them away from dangers like bad habits and getting involved in crime. - The effective collaborative work carried out with universities, non-governmental organizations, schools and the Police Department, prevented social discrimination and alienation by the society and provided a platform for the children to receive an uninterrupted education. During various activities organized by NGO’s, children were given the opportunity to meet elders who can be role models, are able to dream of a better future for themselves and not to feel excluded from the society. - Opportunity gap caused by urban poverty and the fact that all citizens cannot benefit from services equally is no longer valid for children working in streets. Facilities were improved in order to make the Centre more attractive for children so that they are eager to come to the Centre to benefit from the services. Free transportation facilities were also provided between the districts the children live and the Centre at least three times a day. This enabled them to catch up with other children getting any other opportunity from their parents or similar services from municipalities. In addition to those, children are always approached affectionately and without any prejudice.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Effectiveness of the Centre and sustainability of its efficiency are unconditionally and directly related to the extent to which the principles of the implementation plan are observed. Accordingly, field works are carried out in order to identify the children working in the street and the administrators and teachers of the schools in poor districts are contacted to reach the children facing the risk of working in the streets and their families therefore, communication is established between the Centre and children that actually work in the streets or have potential to work in the streets. Dropping out of school and absence are also monitored within the school-family-Centre circle. As mentioned before, attendance of children to the Centre is voluntary. However, the time scales that the children come to and leave the Centre are also monitored in respect of protecting them from dangers that exist in places where they live and work. Children who do not come to the Centre as often as before are interviewed and reasons preventing them from coming to the Centre are eliminated. One of the expectations of the Centre is the participation of the children in a skills, or sports activity or taking part in a cultural or social activity as well as embracing the Centre and making it their own. The Centre organizes social activity programs such as picnics and trips with the participation of members of various NGO’s occupational groups in order to present them to the children as role models. Young students and previous graduates of the Centre who are currently studying at a university or have a profession are brought together. Children are given a chance to imagine a future. The efforts they put into reaching these dreams are monitored. They are told that these dreams can only be realized through education and encouraged to attend to school. On the other hand, when children ask for a change in the activities they are benefiting from, or state that they cannot benefit from the services sufficiently, additional hours are provided for these services. Expansion process of the centre is an outcome of this huge demand. This Centre, which provided services in 2000 square meter area previously, was later expanded to a larger area to be able to accommodate the services required. When the families of the children visit the Centre see the activities that their children participate in, they become more willing to send them to the Centre. The Centre is also a subject material for social policy research studies carried out by universities leading to the society to view the process from a scientific perspective. Besides the assessments made by those receiving the service, the Centre’s activities are also audited periodically every year by an internal audit unit.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
As the fathers of some children coming to the Centre were in prison and their mothers could not find a job due to very little education, inevitably, children had to drop out of school and work in the streets. The Centre organized vocational training courses for their mothers aiming for occupations demanded in the labour market, such as patient care, sewing etc. However, some mothers did not want to participate with the excuse that they did not have anybody at home to take care of their younger children during training. To solve this problem, one of the rooms at the Centre was converted into a nursery and childcare services were provided to young children while their mothers were in training. In addition to the above, majority of the children working in the streets are unsuccessful at school as an inevitable result of working in the streets. This leads them disliking school therefore becoming reluctant to attend. One of the drawbacks we were facing in keeping children away from working in the streets was the fact that they earned more money in a day than they would get as a pocket money for one week and could buy the things that their parents could not afford to get for them. Designing specific solutions for each child rather than a general solution was the preferred action. Following practices were implemented according to the specific circumstances of the children; - Extra training was provided to children to support them in the courses they were unsuccessful at school, - Basic food items and heating requirements were provided to families as part of the municipality’s social aid program therefore, any financial expectations from children were eliminated. - In order to encourage parents’ participation in vocational education courses, courses offering job guarantee were organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. - Second-hand clothing donations are obtained from citizens in order to meet the clothing needs of the children registered in the Centre, these second-hand clothes are repaired, washed and ironed before they are distributed to children in need. Another important problem encountered is the negative and dismissive perception in the society about children working in the streets and children addicted to substances. Presentation of these children in the news as potential criminals by the media was particularly causing exclusion of these children from the society. In order to change this prejudice, exhibitions showcasing the paintings and handcrafts produced by these children were held at busy places such as the subway stations and university campuses. Moreover, the Centre carried out informative activities in collaboration with other public organizations and NGOs in order to change this misperception and create awareness of the fact that these children do not present any danger but they are in danger themselves.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Ankara Metropolitan Municipality provides services through “Children’s Clubs” located at 21 different points in relatively disadvantaged neighbourhoods of the city with lower income inhabitants in order to support children between 7 and 14 years of age and enable them to benefit from social, sports and cultural activities. However, these clubs do not include the more vulnerable profile within the disadvantaged groups like the working children. Providing services allowing the inclusion of all children and developing public services within the framework of equal opportunities principle was put into practice by developing opportunities to provide services to children working in streets, who obviously have different characteristics from other children. As of 2013, nearly 70 social centres of the Municipality, which are designed to accommodate all the disadvantaged segments of society according to age and social needs (such as Children’s Club, Youth Centre, Women’s Community Centre, Service Centre for Disabled, Technology Centre for Visually Impaired, Service Centre for the Elderly, Family Centre, Care Centres and others) provide services for approximately 500.000 citizens. As a result of the work carried out for ensuring of attendance of children to school and efforts for preventing them falling behind, the children working in the streets who received help and support from the centre were able to complete their high school education in particularly Fine Arts, Sports and Vocational High Schools and even universities. Observation of the results of such social service work is difficult and may sometimes take several years. Following is the information regarding the success levels of some children who took advantage of the Centre’s services and kept in touch with the teachers working at the Centre; - 7 children were admitted to the Painting Department at Kırıkkale Anatolian Fine Arts High School, - 8 children were admitted to Physical Education Departments of Gaziantep, Kırıkkale, Balıkesir and Ondokuz Mayıs Universities, - A child was admitted to the Mechanical Engineering and 1 child was admitted to the Gastronomy departments. Graduates of similar schools: - A child working at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, 4 children are working in the Centre for Children Working in Streets and 2 children are working in private schools as Judo teachers, - A child is working in a private theatre and animation field, taking part in shows within and outside of Turkey. - A child is admitted to a private college on full scholarship for his extraordinary achievements in Judo (as 2010 champion of Turkey and the Balkans). Children have held several exhibitions as a result of their success in art and won several medals in national and international sports tournaments. The Centre has spent great effort during the recent years especially for the employment of mothers. After a vocational course in Sick and Elderly Care provided in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour, 17 mothers were employed. As it was explained above, the children working in the streets often drop out of school, and those who does not drop out of school often fall below their capacities. The best role models for these children seem to be their peers who continue their education, receive higher education and are employed afterwards. Bringing together successful children with children working or have potential to work in the streets is the right way to show them that reaching to a different and much better future is not impossible at all. This is an important meeting as older children who had worked in streets for several years in the past are more likely to understand these children better than anyone else and know how to motivate them. Some researches also confirm the positive effects of the Centre on Ankara, which undertook an important role on shaping the future of children. Ankara was found to be the city with the lowest level of crime rate in the research titled “The Crime Rates According to Cities in 2010” which was carried out by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Regarding young offenders category, it was the 66th city out of 81 provinces. Ankara was also chosen the most liveable city of Turkey for four consecutive years by CNBC-E Business Magazine. This must be considered as the natural outcome of the social service mentality which includes even the most disadvantaged groups in Ankara. Supporting the quality of life of these children who fall behind their peers especially in personal development, emotional well-being, interpersonal relations and social inclusion, by helping and supporting them in a caring and loving environment for the continuation of their education and in various areas including communication skills also contribute to the improvement of social welfare. According to some, these activities prevent crimes before they are committed, and according to others, they make the poor stronger. However, according to us, a better future is built for children and a more liveable society for all.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
As a result of the work carried out in collaboration with all the stakeholders, a substantial level of decrease was achieved in the number of children working in the streets, especially during the recent years. Therefore, the Centre continues to provide services of preventive nature, not only to children working in streets but also children who are faced with the risk of having to work in the streets. Today, number of children working in streets and children under the risk of working in streets is lowered to less than one thousand. Taking into account the fact that absolute eradication of urban poverty is impossible in near future and especially in developing countries, continuation of the services of the Centre is unavoidable. This solution method could be shared with other cities of the world that have the same problems and the problem of children working in street due to poverty might be prevented at a global scale. The works of international organizations like ILO and UNICEF for the prevention of child labour and a social problem that has to be tackled by law could reach to a solution with a correct intervention. Ankara Metropolitan Municipality is currently in sister city relationship or in a cooperation relationship with 47 other cities all around the world through various agreements. The Municipality acts as the chairman of two international organizations and hosts many international organizations in Ankara. All delegations of these relations and organizations visiting Ankara have the opportunity to visit the Centre and receive information about the works carried out by the Centre. Not only visitors from developing countries and developed countries but visitors from cities that have the same problem with children working in streets receive information about the operational principles of the Centre. In recent years, Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE), members of local, regional and central administrative boards from United States of America, Korea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Romania, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Syria, Moldova, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Albania, Egypt, Slovakia and Greece have visited the Centre. Metropolitan Municipality personnel of several cities in Turkey also visit the Centre to benefit from the experiences. In several cities of Turkey, similar Centres at smaller scales have begun to emerge by taking this project as an example. Ankara Metropolitan Municipality tries to guide administrations of other cities that are faced with the same problem by sharing information about the Centre in all of its presentations regarding social domain works that are realized abroad and also during application procedures for international awards. Successful works of Ankara Metropolitan Municipality are awarded with European Flag of Honour (2001), Plaque of Honour (2003) and certified by Europe Prize (2009) that are given to the cities by Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe and “Excellency in Mediterranean Award” was given to Ankara by Mediterranean Parliamentarians Assembly in 2010. Ankara Municipality openly declares in all platforms that public services should be designed to cover all segments of the society and especially the disadvantaged segments. Moreover, expressing that these kinds of awards that raise the brand value of cities are awarded by projects like Centre for Children Working in Streets, realization of similar projects are tried to be encouraged. Ankara Metropolitan Municipality, providing all financial needs of the Centre, adopted the priority of “health, social life and public welfare” in its strategic targets for the period of 2010-2014. Success of children at the Centre led to continuous support of the activities. On the other hand, the achievements of the children working in streets help convincing the public that anyone could be successful when provided with an opportunity. Crimes like stealing by snatching and theft that were committed in streets that had increased for a while in Turkey had caused an exclusionary attitude regarding children working and living in streets. It is believed that this system can be extended if material gains are shared with a motivating method with local, regional and central administrations of the world. Awareness about this Centre, which can be considered among best practices, will definitely be reinforced with an award to be given by UN.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Ankara suffered from domestic migration because of interregional differences in terms of development and opportunities available in cities. Employment expectations of immigrants from surrounding provinces and country side cannot be met at a satisfactory level because of poor education. This makes children feel that they have to contribute to their family budget for the essential needs of the family. Working in streets damages physical, mental, educational, social, emotional and cultural development of children. Negative impacts of poverty on children’s development are obvious. Considering this impact, it is clearly understood that these children absolutely need a support in order to prepare a good future for them. Centre played an important role for better understanding of children working in streets and solution of this problem with correct methods. While Centre was trying to perform this role properly, it was also included in the continuous learning process and had to adjust its operations according to encountered cases. One of the most important subjects learned and should be taken into consideration is that the family should not be considered apart from children problem. Important steps for solution; Family; • should be supported socially and economically; • should be helped to gain consciousness regarding child labour and negative effects of working in street on children, • should be persuaded to participate in vocational education programs prepared according to demands of job market. Studies have shown that preventing children from working in streets and making them to attend school is not sufficient. Children who fell behind their peers should be supported and helped in their courses. Another important point is that they do not have any person around themselves who can be a role model for them. Another reason why they do not want to go to school is that they cannot think of any profession that they can dream about. Persons who worked in streets in their childhood, but who later received a high school or university education with the support of the Centre are invited to the Centre to meet with children and share their experience. Another important issue is the reluctance of families living in these social environments for their daughters to go to school. In an interview, a girl who passed the examination and was admitted to Fine Arts High School after attending Drawing Workshop of the Centre said that her father did not want her to go to school for several years and that her grandfather exerted pressure on his father saying “We did not let our daughters to go to school; why do you?”. However; when she was admitted to Fine Arts High School, her grandfather asked her “What present will you buy me when you become a teacher and earn a salary?” and accepted to let her go to school. The Centre spent efforts in order to eliminate prejudices regarding education of girls in addition to its struggle for building a better future for children. Briefly, it is observed that it is necessary to work harder in order to change prejudices and some conceptions of these parts of the society. We understood as a second point that it is not possible to succeed in the struggle for elimination of children working in street problem only by legal measures. System that would prevent children from working in the street and that would carry them to an equal level with other children and that would enable them to use their capacity in full could only be established by persuading all stakeholders that constitute the social circle of the children working in street to be part of the solution. School, Family and Centre should always be in communication and problems should be tackled together. Acting in many directions, social aid and educational and cultural works to support children should be used whenever needed. According to United Nations Report, for the first time in history, in 2007, urban population has outgrown rural population. According to estimates, 60% of world population will live in cities in the year 2030. Cities will encounter great problems in infrastructure, housing etc. due to this huge population growth. While fighting these immense urban problems, social and human matters will most probably be ignored. It is also clearly understood from OECD reports that employment possibilities of persons with low level of education would decrease in economic crisis periods. In order to prevent emergence of more disadvantaged groups that are subject to social exclusion because of such reasons and provide equal opportunities for the whole society, it is advised that all necessary precautions are taken and implemented.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Center of Children Working in Streets
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Masum SUN
Title:   Mr.  
Telephone/ Fax:   +90 312 507 29 84 / +90 312 507 29 91
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   Hipodrom Caddesi No 5 B Blok Kat 22
Postal Code:   06560
City:   Ankara
State/Province:   -

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