Thursday, 20 March 2008

Growing poverty

DPA news agency reports:

Street children are becoming a common sight in Beirut, some begging at traffic intersections, others wiping off dirty car windows, and others just hanging around with searching eyes that clearly show the kind of life they are living.

Zeina, 10, is one of the unfortunate ones, who due to family circumstances are forced to try to sell some chewing gum before nightfall so she can return home with something to feed her sister, brother and sick mother.

Zeina, with her green eyes, taps on a car window wither dirty little hands, begging to sell her chewing gum before nightfall. "So please buy one, I have to sell them all in order to buy bread for my family," Zeina pleads, with tears in her eyes.

The little blonde girl said she has mainly lived on the streets since she was eight to help her family survive.

"I have been begging, selling roses, chewing gum, or washing windows since I was eight," she said. "My father left us because my mother got sick."

Zeina is only one of thousands of children who try to eke out a living on the streets of Lebanon's cities these days. A few of the street children are forced to beg by their parents, while the rest are victims of some notorious gangs who push them towards flesh trades and slavery.

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