RONEY and CLAUDINEY
Roney and Claudiney, at risk on the streets of São Paulo
Roney and Claudiney, just two of the many children still on the streets of São Paulo.
Here are just a couple of the children we work with at Hummingbird. Roney and Claudiney are brothers, 11 and 12 years old, although quite small for their age. They both live on the streets in the southern regions of the city of São Paulo, but still have some contact with their alcoholic mother.
Their lives have been pretty much guided by fate and fortune, like most other kids on the streets of the big cities in Brazil. A very unstable childhood during the first few years of their lives, mainly due to their mother’s alcoholism, has led them to spend time in residential care during several periods before they actually ended up hitting the streets full-time.
Roney visits Hummingbird together with his cousin Alex, who is also on the streets, obviously things run in the family.
Like many of the children in their situation, time on the streets started off by selling sweets or offering other small services to passing cars at busy crossroads, this type of work being forced upon them by the mother to keep the family economy in balance. With three other smaller children to take care of besides Roney and Claudiney, life has certainly not been easy for their single mother.
Obviously the consequences have been tragic for both brothers, who have now lost out on most of their schooling. The only paperwork they have managed to accumulate during their short lives have been the piles of police reports, public complaints and who knows how many court rulings to have the boys sent back home or put into residential care again. With most of Brazil’s shelters already inundated with at-risk kids, not many are willing to take on the likes of street children such as Roney and Claudiney, who’s demanding behaviour is enough to keep an entire staff on their toes.
Gregory removes a rather smelly shoe from Roney’s foot, only to reveal an even smellier sock
For the time being the boys use our Hummingbird Activity Centre as a drop-in place, somewhere to spend the day or even a few days rest, which can be most welcoming after long periods of tough life on the streets, where drugs and violence are all too commonplace and can play havoc on their fragile physique.
Claudiney is the older of the two and certainly has more willpower to stay off the streets and participate in the activities offered by us. Alone, he has completed several longer periods at Hummingbird. The negative influence and pressure of his younger, although bigger brother has often caused him to go back to the streets, even when we feel he would have preferred to stay longer. In time, hopefully the two will find equilibrium and continue in the programme.
Claudiney together with his cousin Alex. Thumbs up at Hummingbird.