Monday, June 12, 2006

Addis Ababa's underground children

On a recent visit to Addis, it seemed like the homeless population had doubled...In particular, homeless children. Many earn money by washing cars, selling tissues ("soft") , begging for change...And even petty theft. But compared to cities in Kenya, or South Africa, Addis Ababa has yet to see the sort of violent crime expected from a large and desperate young homeless population. You can still stop at a red light going downhill on Churchill Avenue in the evening hours, flanked by homeless youth asking for money, without a genuine fear of being shot or carjacked...But how long will this relative safety last?

In pictures: Underground children (BBC) June 11, 2006