How the Street Children of Paranaque City Attain Happiness Despite Poverty

Looking at the streets of Manila, it is never new to see street children kicking around. These street children engage in different activities, such as begging for money or food, selling Sampaguita and cigars, collecting scrap metal and plastics with value and sell them, doing small tasks form merchants, dusting car windows, park boys, and some just lay silent in the corner. They do these activities to survive each day due to the lack of resources in their families. They are obliged to work day and night so that they can pass starvation.

At other times, the scarcity of resources is so severe that some children are forced to move out of their families and make their own way to survive in such situations. Moreover, these children also experience discrimination from other people due to the preconceived notions of street children as drug users, thieves and criminals, making the harvesting of resources more difficult for most of them. Yet, despite living in such deprived situations, these children seem to still enjoy a fair amount of play in their lives. These children often create a sort of family among their fellow street children.

Other children while begging for money simultaneously play tag with their friends. Some can even afford to happily sing and dance in front of strangers. Even discriminated, these children can still be heard laughing and can simply put a smile on their faces. In this research, the researchers aim to question the source of happiness in the midst of scarcity and poverty of these street children. The researchers will find out the reasons of these children for being in the streets and how can happiness be attained and their necessities. HAPPINESS AMONG STREET CHILDREN2 Conceptual Framework

Discrimination Poverty Problems: – Health – Home – Family – Safety – Money – Lifestyle – Education Street Children How can happiness be attained? Poverty is the primary cause of the street children crisis. Because of this, the street children are facing a lot of problems, primarily with their health. These problems increase discrimination of the people with the street children. But despite all these problems, how can happiness still be attained by these children? Theoretical Framework According to the 1998 report, entitled “Situation of the Youth in the Philippines,” there are about 1. million street children in the Philippines. 75% of street children in the Philippines spend the night in the homes of their families, but spend the rest of the day working in the street. Between 25%-30% of street children often create a sort of family among fellow street children, and some of them may maintain an interrupted relationship with their families and the homes of their families. 5%-10% of street children are completely abandoned (The Street Children in the Philippines, Wikipedia). At least, a street child is seen walking along the streets, looking for a place to stay.

HAPPINESS AMONG STREET CHILDREN3 While according to Social Weather Stations (SWS), in the important aspects of life and personal satisfaction of the Philippine youth in April 1996, all youth consider what is important in their lives; having a good family life, having good education, finding meaning and purpose in life, being religious, making contribution to society, having plenty of time for recreation and hobbies, and being politically involved; the way you get along with your parents, yourself, the neighborhood you live in, your standard of living, your personal safety, and your educational experiences.

But these street children who are also part of the youth doesn’t get this important aspects of life and personal satisfaction. They are deprived to what most people have because of their current situation. The lifestyle of these children are mostly working, begging and hanging out of the streets. Spending time on the streets can involve a number of risk factors; younger street children are harassed by the older boys and the police or council workers, their sleeping place is not conducive to give them warmth, there is poor sanitation and lack of warm clothing, and being assaulted with or without weapon.

Statement of the Problem Realizing the situation of the street children, the researchers would conduct a normative study to know what makes children happy. Specifically, the researchers would like to know the answers to the following questions: 1. What are their reasons for being in the streets? 2. What are their experiences in the streets? 3. What makes them happy despite their experiences? 4. How do they live on the streets? HAPPINESS AMONG STREET CHILDREN4 5. How do they feel about the people who discriminates them? . How do they manage to get food on a daily basis? Hypothesis and Assumption Street children can attain happiness despite their experience of scarcity and poverty. Importance of the study Knowing what can make street children happy will help people know how to improve their welfare. Street children face problems; their primary problem is health problem, this is due to the fact that street children are thin, untidy, and undernourished, hardly equipped to survive the hazards of everyday living and working on the streets.

Some of the hazards they face include sickness, physical injuries from vehicular accidents, street fights, harassment from extortionists and police, sexual exploitation by pedophiles and pimps, exposure to substance abuse and sexually transmitted diseases. Their quality of life is also a problem because they cannot utilize their own welfare. With these problems, it increases the discrimination among the street children by the people. It makes it more difficult for these children to gather resources. The discrimination of the people towards the street children should be avoided.

These children are also citizens of what we call a democratic country; they also have the right to be respected. If we try to reach out to these children, we can help to improve their lives and even raise them from poverty. HAPPINESS AMONG STREET CHILDREN5 Scope and Delimitations This study will determine what makes street children happy. However, the study will be limited to the street children of Sucat-Paranaque Road, with ages 6-12 years old. Findings will be primarily based on the data gathered from the survey.

Definition of Terms Street ChildrenAccording to the holistic program of the street children of Shelter Don Bosco, the street children is one who lives on the streets, waste land, or public space most of the time; works in the streets on jobs of low status and low income, lives in the exposed conditions of the street, has no or little parental supervision or other social protection, has either continuous, intermittent or no family contact at all, is vulnerable to the hazards of urbanization and urban living conditions.

HappinessState of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy. State of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. StreetsIs where the street children start their new family with their fellow street children and build a new home. A place where they gather resources and make a living to survive on a daily basis.