IN the eyes of many, the sight of a street child sends shivers of heartless, wicked, uncultured, dangerous, brutal and potentially-harmful beings.
They are viewed as petty thieves, resilient and rebellious children, who should be avoided at all costs.
Many billboards in the central business district read 'do not give alms to street children', giving society every reason to dissociate themselves from this marginalised group of individuals.
Street children are thought of as people who do not deserve a second chance or indeed the benefit of doubt in life.
They are seen as 'someone else's responsibility', and for many in society, they are seen as children who despite provisions by the Government to provide free primary education, they are not willing to get an education.
In fact, a lot of people in society can attest to the fact that they have at least once in their lifetime had a negative encounter with street children.
Members of the public have suffered vices such as violence, verbal abuse, pick-pocketing, and in extreme cases rape, and assault.
However, there have been many Government-driven interventions aimed at finding a long lasting solution to some of the challenges affecting street children, some of whom have since matured into street adults.
Whether or not, some of these interventions have had an impact, although, the bare fact is that, the matter of street children is still a major source of concern in various societies.
However, there are people in society who have a completely different perception of street children, and possible solutions to addressing the age-long challenges affecting street children and their impact on society.
The children are not criminals as most people like to believe. In fact, they themselves have in most cases been victims of negative vices such as sexual abuse.
If the cycle of problems affecting street children is not addressed, and broken, then society will end up with street children and youths they should fear.
There may be cases of street children involved in a lot of vices, while others have ended up on the streets because somehow, like in every society, life may have been very unkind to them due to no fault of their own.
Like the old adage says: 'do not judge me if you have not walked half the journey I have been through.'
It is, therefore, imperative that before exercising any judgment on some of the children who live on the streets, it is worth contemplating what a simple gesture such as love can do for them.