Something on the generations.

I have read a lot about street children, books and articles, and seen many films and documentaries. There is an abundance of material, too much to get through in a lifetime. But never have I read about the different generations. As far as I can tell, nobody has made the distinction between the 1st and the 2nd generation the way I propose to do. Yet, they represent totally different problems. At least in Guatemala, where the focus of my research has been.

First generation street children tend to escape from home. They are on the run. Often from poverty, or from violence or sexual abuse by a family member. Some of the children come from villages to the city, dreaming of getting a job and being able to send money home to their families. Whatever the cause, often they are at least 5-6 years old, sometimes even older, and have had some education. Many street children can read and write. And all first generation street children have a reference of the family model. They were raised in a home, with a roof over their head, and most likely know their mother, their father, and have brothers and sisters.

Second generation street children are born on the street. Sometimes literally, but often their mother was accepted into hospital for the birth only to be shown the door a few days later. The babies grow up on the street. When they first open their eyes, they see the sky and not a roof. They are raised there, as if they were savages of the city.

The big difference is that: the first generation has a reference of the family model and a home, of which they have escaped for whatever reason. The second generation is not escaping. They have nothing to escape from. Their reference is the street, and all it bring with it. They represent an entirely different pathology, live in a different dynamic, and require a separate form of support, help or even treatment.

As such, we are not only trying to make an interesting documentary, but it will also be a first.

One thought on “Generations

  1. Koen,

    Congratulations on finally finding the funding for this project – we’ll be following you closely and let us know if we can be of help in any way shape of form.

    Good luck!

    GJ & AX.


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