Many street children are bright, talented and eager to learn, but don't have opportunities to develop their skills. For some of them this is about to change. Two of the 2010 host cities have programmes in place to help street children learn new skills.
Skills programmes for street children are among the 2010 legacy projects. This means they have benefits for 2010, while also leaving a legacy for the future.
The aim with skills training for street children is to empower them and help them to be role models for other street children.
The performing arts programmes will teach them skills in singing, dancing and acting. Although the programmes focus mainly on children, adults will also be included.
Cape Town started its Performing Arts Development Programme at the end of last year. It co-operates with non-governmental organisations and other levels of government that care for street people.
The programme is already planning a concert with the children performing in an orchestra. Some children will learn to play musical instruments made from items that have been thrown away, while others will sing and dance to the music. These are skills that they will be able to use for the rest of their lives.
Organisations like the Zip Zap Circus School, Dance for All, Ikapa Dance Theatre Productions, Tercia Kindo Arts, Jikeleza Dance Project, the Cape Dance Company and the Athlone Academy of Music will help with training. They will work in co-operation with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra.
The City of Cape Town has also appointed an experienced trainer in dance, movement therapy and youth development work to train and guide the group from rehearsals to the final performance.
In the next few months, they will be working towards getting ready for performances during the World Cup in 2010.
In Durban, a similar programme called "Grow 2010" was started. The project is aimed at building an orchestra for the 2010 Soccer World Cup using homeless children in shelters. It will teach them to play musical instruments to perform at different events during the Soccer World Cup in 2010. "Grow 2010" is short for Grass Roots Orchestra 2010.
Umthombo, a Durban-based non-governmental organisation working with street children, said the 2010 Soccer World Cup will be an important event to show how street children are treated in South Africa.
The World Cup does not have to be a disaster for street children, Umthombo said. With well thought-out plans and a caring outlook, the soccer tournament could help them to improve their lives.
- Mbulelo Baloyi