The Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly refuted NGO findings that say Egypt has between 600,000 and one million street children, of which 25 percent are believed to be under the age of 12.
Waly said there are only 16,019 street children in all governorates stationed in over 2,500 areas, of whom 83 percent are male and 17 percent are female, and of whom 88 percent are in rural areas and 12 percent are in urban areas, with 4,778 in Cairo alone.
“We have a strategy for dealing with this phenomenon in cooperation with civil society organizations,” she said.
The government statistics came in a survey conducted by 2,751 researchers of the Ministry of Social Solidarity in cooperation with the National Center for Social and Criminological Research and the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.
An informed source from UNICEF told Egypt Independent that the organization estimates the number of street children in Egypt at tens of thousands, though the actual number is difficult. The UNICEF website shows data from 2007 saying the numbers were between 600,000 and 1 million, which the source says is based off information compiled and presented to UNICEF in 2001 by multiple NGOs. In another estimate, UNICEF also presented testimony to US congressional committees in 2007 quoting the numbers as 500,000.
The source added that UNICEF has for years been advocating for a more accurate and comprehensive census of street children to be compiled.
The update with the UNICEF source and additional quotes of the number of street children in the last paragraph were added on 13 January at 3:45 pm.
The article was updated at 5:16 pm again after the UNICEF source clarified the origin of the numbers.