Web of the Street

Webinar in spanish

The impact of the covid-19 crisis on vulnerable children aged 0-18

Webinar topic

The impact of the coronavirus crisis on vulnerable children aged 0-18 with regard to education, children and young people in public spaces, domestic violence, migrant children, etc.

In their role working with children, how have street social workers experienced the pandemic?  How have the health, education and social systems responded? How about grassroots practices and changes to methods? And what are the prospects for the future?

Speakers – observations and key ideas expressed

Ximena Rojas, Bolivie, Director of Association Mi Rancho and national coordinator of the Bolivian platform – DI-SWN

  • The challenges of youth work in lockdown. Improve the protection and prevention system covering children in street situations and their families in response to their increased vulnerability caused by total lockdown and the lack of a response from the local authorities.
  • Campaign for free internet access to enable children to follow online classes, and produce short teaching booklets.
  • Prevent children being taken into care by assessing the needs of families working in the informal economy with their children, and by implementing strategic initiatives.
  • The universal healthcare system is not fit for purpose with regard to access to free healthcare for highly vulnerable families and their children.

Veronica Müller, Brésil, President of AESMAR, coordinator of the Brazilian national platform – DI-SWN

  • Need to professionalise the field of social education and research.
  • Campaign for free internet access: free access in public spaces.
  • Education is the system hardest hit by “militarisation” and by the power exercised by the religious authorities over children’s imaginations. Bolster critical thinking in order to bring about more structural changes.
  • Strengthen intergenerational relationships to counter gerontocracy (adults dominating society) so as to improve effective child participation.
  • Work on a shared language. For instance, for the concept of social education. Replace the concept of resistance = reaction, with the concept of pro-existence = invention.
  • Regulate the profession to ensure effective recognition and in this way combat the exploitation of sector professionals.

Joke Verreth, Belgique, coordinator of Europe – Latin America Partnerships at Mobile School

  • Regulate the profession to ensure effective recognition. Need for COVID-19 prevention educational materials and to foster discussion about the impact of the pandemic on children and young people in both the short and long term.
  • Developed a coronavirus educational pack for youth workers.
  • It covers seven topics – the impact of coronavirus on emotions, business, personal safety, education, basic needs, play, sport, culture, and health. The pack contains 13 additional activities in order to explore the seven topics in depth so that street workers can meet the needs of their target groups.

Juan Martin Perez, Mexique, psychologist and director of  REDIM REDIM (Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico) and coordinator of the children’s rights project for the Latin America – Caribbean Region (20 countries)  

  • The COVID-19 era, a new paradigm for the next decade with a package: militarisation, religious power, conservatism, the far right, fascism, racism, adultcentrism, necropolitics, post-truth (the narrative about better days), the normalisation of inequality etc.
  • Assume a resistance-based stance as a street social worker in education and in defence of human rights, with street communities who are invisible, excluded and stigmatised by the sanitised narrative.
  • Vigilance about the narrative on uncertainty and anger, return to territoriality and new forms of self-organisation.
  • Maintain an intergenerational dialogue based on diversity (women, men, LGBT, indigenous communities, colours, ideas, opinions etc), combat polarisation and break with the dominant narrative and vertical relationships.
  • Civil society monitoring of state actions with regard to respect for and guaranteeing rights, and coordinate to make for effective solutions.

Ester Bonal, Spain, teacher, social worker, facilitator of opportunities in order to guarantee cultural rights

  • Foster conditions enabling children to externalise and share their emotions and feelings at post-lockdown in-person events.
  • Encourage artistic processes to enable children to develop imaginations imbued with hope in response to the violence that they suffer.
  • Continue to organise discussion meetings for professionals to enhance practices and human relationships.

Veronica Coral Rojas, Colombia, philosopher, actor convinced that art provides a forum for asking questions, and coordinator at COMBOS NGO – DI-SWN

  • State clearly to governments and society that children’s rights must be guaranteed in the current unprecedented circumstances, particularly the right to education of girls and boys living in adverse situations, without adequate internet access, and living in extreme poverty.
  • Raise the profile of and gain recognition for our work as civil society organisations in the regions.
  • Roll out training on the effective application of rights for people in our areas of intervention.