We work with the most vulnerable and maglinsed, growing up in the toughest of circumstances. Our work addresses some of the most challenging issues facing children and families around the world today, including modern day slavery and trafficking, dangerous working conditions, and gender inequality. Read more about the issues we’re working on here.

Gender equality 

Gender inequality remains a major barrier to human development. Much progress has been made for girls and womens rights and equality but they have not yet gained gender equity. Forced labour and modern slavery, child marriage, and sexual and gender-based violence or abuse are some of the most severe barriers girls and women face in development and gender equality.

Though inequality is a global problem, girls and women living in extreme poverty are more disadvantaged. Girls and women are often excluded and discriminated against in education, political representation, and the labour market which has negative consequences of their development. When girls and women are discriminated against and their development stalled, they are denied the opportunity to realise their potential and participate in their community and the global society as equals.

  • Global prevalence of child sexual abuse is estimated at 18% for girls and 7.6% for boys
  • 1 in 4 young women alive today were married in childhood. Each year, there are 12 million girls married before 18.
  • Women across the globe are paid less, have fewer workers’ rights and are more likely to be in low paying jobs than men, while they also still do 60 to 80% of unpaid domestic work (UKDFID 2018).

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Modern slavery and human trafficking 

Millions of children around the world are trapped in modern day slavery and forced labour, trafficked and exploited, working in dangerous work environments.

The UN’s International Labour Organisation estimates that there are 40.3 million people trapped in modern slavery around the world,1 in 4 of them are children.

There are many ways people become trapped in modern slavery: through violence and control people are threatened into slavery; forced labour, people are exploited into dangerous work conditions, sexually exploited and groomed into sex work; bonded labour, people are trapped by debt or poverty, forced to work off their debt, or their employer withholds their payments or underpays them; and forced marriage.

Children whose movement or communications are already impaired, for example through a disability, can be at even higher risk of exploitation through slavery.

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Street connected children

The common understanding of the term ‘street children’ is that a child is without parental care. Many children who live and work on the streets have run away from dysfunctional families where there are problems of domestic violence, substance-abuse, neglect, and poverty or are orphans or have been abandoned. However, many are still with their families. They may work on the streets but return to their family at night or every few days. These 'street connected' children rely on the streets for income and to survive. For street connected children, the streets play a vital role in their everyday lives and identities, even if they are not rough sleeping.

The Consortium for Street Children, a global network of over 100 organisations, including ChildHope, defines street-connected children as children who depend on the streets to live and/or work and those who have strong connections to public spaces such as markets, parks and stations.

Waste pickers

Waste picking is a job for the poorest of poor. Children and their families work long days, exposed to unhygienic conditions, toxic fumes and injury from sharp objects and machinery. Many waste pickers are women, divorced, separated, or the wives of drug addicts or disabled men. Their lack of skills and abject poverty mean wastepicking is their only means of survival. Most of them live in slums, on footpaths, in public spaces such as bus or train stations or abandoned buildings.

It is estimated that there are around 15 million people around the world working as waste pickers, surviving by salvaging recyclables to resell. Waste pickers are extremely vulnerable as many are undocumented and many child waste pickers aren't registered at birth, meaning they don't have access to government assistance, political representation, or public health and education services. Not only is their work dangerous it is also unreliable. Working in an informal economy, they rely on what they scavenge to resell to earn a daily wage.

Income generation 

The ways in which people can earn a living in developing countries is changing rapidly and as a result, many of the poorest people are being led into exploitative or unpredictable work.

One of the most significant influencing factors is the change in the rural economy. International Labour Organisation statistics show that 80% of working people in developing countries earn their living from the rural economy.

Yet the nature of farming is changing. Advances in technology and equipment have a positive impact on productivity but they often mean fewer people are needed to work on the land. These technologies aren't widely afordable hence exacerbate the technology divide between rural and urban, having negative consequences on livelihood opportunities and rural communities poverty.

Many traditional livelihoods, such as weaving and pottery, have become all but redundant due to the availability of mass production and competition from overseas markets.

Urbanisation is seeing a labour migration from rural areas and work, such as agriculture, to urban areas, such as industrial work, factory workers, garment workers, and hospitality. The work force is migrating towards cities in search of better opportunities.

Climate change and natural disasters are driving people away from their home communities and where they can earn a living.

Due to family pressures, children are increasingly needing to work to contribute to the income of the family, which means they miss out on school.


All of our programmes have an educational component.

Our early years programmes boost children’s literacy and numeracy to enable them to transition from preschool to primary school. Day-centres and mobile schools provide inclusive, accessible and free primary and catch-up education to prepare children for mainstream school. We work with schools to improve their teaching standards and ensure they provide safe learning environments and we train parents in child rights and stress the importance of education.

Read about our work below and find out how your support can help children thrive in school.

See our work in action 

Our Official Donors

Comic Relief
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