Ashoka Fellow
South Africa,
Fellow Since 1997
Grassroots Adults Education & Training Trust


This profile was prepared when David Fortune was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1997.
The New Idea
David Fortune believes that the problem of street children cannot be addressed in isolation of the family and the larger community. His organization, STREETS, is the first in South Africa to systematically implement long-term solutions to the problems of children living on the streets. At his special Drop-In Centers, David provides food, clothing, shelter, as well as job training, legal aid, and job placement services for older children. Unlike conventional programs for street children, which have a tendency to separate the children from their families, David's approach uses the provision of services and material comfort as a stepping-stone toward his main objective-helping children return to their families and communities.
STREETS staff emphasize the psychological development of street children. They work with the children and their families to address the reasons that children run away from home, concentrating on helping the children to develop new perceptions of life rooted in self-esteem, self-confidence, and personal responsibility. STREETS also assists parents in making arrangements for their children to return to school.
At the level of the wider community, STREETS uses drama and community workshops to raise awareness about the plight of street children. Children perform a play (co-written by David and a youth drama group from the neighborhoods where STREETS operates) for adults in the community in order to stimulate discussion and foster active involvement of the community in the development of "their" children.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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