Today is International Day for Street Children - an important issue which needs to be addressed worldwide. There are millions of street children, not just in developing countries but amongst our own society too, who are put at great risk on a daily basis. 

Image from https://twitter.com/rednoseday

Part of this years Comic Relief, Dermot O'Leary spent 24 hours with three street children in Kenya, talking to them and finding out out how they survive each day. During the day they collect plastic bottles from waste dumps to sell, and at night they sleep on the streets. Dermot slept rough with them on the pavement with only cardboard sheets to lie on and bags to lie in. Sleeping here makes the children vulnerable to all sorts of dangers and even whilst Dermot was there, a car crashed just feet away from where they were sleeping, which brings home the real dangers that affect these children. You can watch a video here.  

So International Day for Street Children is about raising awareness about the issues that street children face and to support those who are trying to tackle this issue. The CSC (Consortium for Street Children) is currently seeking support to turn International Day for Street Children into a UN (United Nations) Day which would add vital pressure on governments around the world to recognise the issues and support street children. You can sign a petition to help them with this here

At Fair Grounds, this is something we feel passionate about. One of our first experiences with supporting street children was back in 1998/9 in Whitby, when me, Nina and some of our friends took part in The Big Take 'Learn to Live' Campaign. The campaign was run by the Oasis Trust and Tearfund with the aim to raise awareness about street children and there was a competition for young people to make a video to raise awareness and money. Our fundraising activities included a 24hr sponsored music marathon, school assemblies and a silent auction. We also made our video which was shortlisted in the top 3 for a National Big Take Video Award and we all went down to London's Planet Hollywood to mingle with some celebrities and find out if we'd won. We didn't, but that didn't matter we had a great time anyway and were really proud that our video had been selected this far. 

  

(I'm only slightly embarrassed now by my brightly coloured jacket! It was the 90s after all!)

Now, in 2015, Fair Grounds is continuing to support the work of charities who work with street children. We buy a variety of newspaper bags from The India Shop, which we give out to customers at events and festivals to put all their purchases in. The bags are made from recycled Indian newspaper by an NGO whose main objective is to provide education and shelter to street children.

The organisation was started in 2004 by street children who wanted to give something back in return for the opportunities which had allowed them to escape desperate circumstances. These elder children, now married with children of their own, generate an income by making newspaper bags and jute items. This allows them to take care of thirteen street children that they have saved from the streets surrounding Delhi train station. Support for this wonderful project means that these children can enjoy going to school and playing, rather than pulling rickshaws, shoe polishing, rag picking and worse.

Many of our customers comment on the quality and uniqueness of the bags and I'm always pleased to inform them that they are also supporting street children projects.  

Image from www.thefairtradestore.co.uk