Are the Street Children of Hanoi?
A group of street children meet every day on a corner for lunch. They laugh and joke but it is the harsh life on the streets of Hanoi which has forced them to rely on one another. Hanoi is not a very safe place for children living alone on the street. There are many desperate people and kids make an easy target.
The kids help and protect each other. The older kids teach the younger children what they have learned about living on the street and surviving. They all make a living as shoe shiners. They work in the same location everyday so they can check up on one another.
Working as shoe shiners they make 5,000 to 10,000 VND per day (14,000 VND = 1 USD). Most of their customers are Vietnamese. They are embarrassed to have to shine shoes and hide their shoe shine kit when we take their picture.
For fun, the kids like to watch sports on TV at the shelter where they sleep.
Street kids frequently seekout other kids from their home province. The kids in this group all come from Thanh Hoa province. They came to Hanoi to make money. Although people living in the rural provinces are seldom hungry, there are limited job opportunities. If there were better ways to make a living, they would all go back to their home.