STREET CHILDREN IN MEXICO CITY
K e n t K l i c h
Mexico City, 1986. I have just arrived to the largest urban center the world has ever known. A megalopolis of twenty million people ( and some say more) sprawling across a 7,500-foot-high valley surrounded in every direction by even higher mountains.
Mexico City is the industrial and commercial hub of the nation and it keeps growing. In the streets I encounter many children, the majority between the ages of 5 and 15. Most of them are from some kind of family but have been forced into the streets to find ome support for themselves and those at home. The least lucky ones are those who have been abandoned by their families and live night and day on the street.
For the street-child the gang becomes their new family, where the strongest is the leader and has to prove it. They work, beg and steal to get money for food and glue. Drugs become the means to escape the violence that they constantly are exposed to. It has been said that there are a million street-children in Mexico City.
Looking at these numbers makes the mind reel, the amount stands in the way of any possible solution, and gives one the feeling of exhaustion. But from my experience I believe that these numbers are greatly exagerated.
The children of the street are strong and represent all the children that are being exploited and mistreated in their own homes. The children of the street are not the problem. Families in crisis are.
Kent Klich lives and works in Copenhaguen, Denmark. He can be reached at :