“Family… where everything begins”

Experiences of children living and /or working in the street


CESVI has defined and put into practice its own intervention strategy with street children which finds its basic expression in the “House of Smiles” formula. The ten House of Smiles, run by Cesvi are Located in the Italy, Bosnia, Peru, Haiti, South Africa, Brazil, India and Zimbabwe. Each has its own unique country specific history, which takes into account the specific conditions of the single contexts.

House of Smiles in Zimbabwe has been a day dropping center since 2004 and has since supported children and youth living/working on the streets of Harare. The House of Smiles has ongoing outreach activities, aimed at identifying and assisting new street arrivals, it provides one hot meal per day, ablution facilities, primary health care facilities, psycho-social support and assists in the acquisition of national registration documents for the disadvantaged children.

House of Smiles also works on family tracing, reunification where possible, second chance education and skills training. Follow up visits for successful reunification include income generation packages to families and moral support.

The center supports the rights of the individual child to protection, in the best interest of the child doing no harm and the importance of supporting the family in collaboration with other significant stakeholders for sustainable development. The House of Smiles is a place where children living in difficult harsh conditions in Harare can identify and bond. It is the stepping-stone from street life to family life and it works closely with the ministry of public service, labor and social welfare.

The reopening of House of Smiles comes a month after a complete renovations that were funded by the Australian Embassy. Through the renovations, safety and security of the children has been improved and more services are now available to the children.

The exhibition reflects the experiences of the children, their living conditions and the assistance offered at House of Smiles. Children voluntarily took part of this project and willingly shared their personal stories. The exhibition is pictorial and the main photo represents a fraction of the child’s life while the object symbolizes what most likely influenced or continues to influence the child’s circumstances.

We owe the success of the exhibition to Loris Palentini, Giovanni Diffidenti, Enias Marama, Winnie Rwaendepi, Harold Marama and Nokholo Mhluzani. We value the contributions from children living and working on the streets and thank those who took part in the exhibition anonymously or publicly.

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