Many of these children run away from home due to their parents' lack of interest, others as a result of abuse, others because they are undermined by the popular belief that they are "feitiseiri" (sorcerers, witches) who attract misfortune onto the family. Once on the street, these children wander from neighborhood to neighborhood, sleep wherever possible, and survive thanks to small jobs in the center of Luanda: shoe shiners, window washers, porters ... Many girls end up prostituting themselves, and virtually everyone inhales gasoline and glue to calm the pangs of hunger and to find an apparent consolation to their solitude, to the sense of emptiness they experience.
The Salesians began working for the recovery of street children in the 1990s when groups of children fleeing the war that tore the country apart for almost thirty years flowed into the capital. Today the motivations have changed, but the phenomenon of street children continues and for this reason the Salesians have developed new strategies: if in the war years the main objective was to offer first assistance to minors, now it is to reunite, through a path of reception and rehabilitation, street children to their families of origin.
The spiritual Sons of Don Bosco are currently developing a special project for single mothers living in the streets; to this end, they are renovating a building wherein to welcome them and their children: they want to build a safe nest or shelter in which mothers and children find a home that can guarantee protection and warmth.
Every year, thanks to this initiative, twenty underage girls shall be welcomed and involved in health and psychological assistance activities, alongside the possibility of attending vocational training courses and a family reunification path with the family of origin.
For more information: www.missionidonbosco.org