This article discusses the links between poverty, HIV/AIDS, and barriers to education, based on the first-hand experiences of ‘street children’ in northern Tanzania. Within the context of national levels of poverty, ‘cost-sharing’ in health and education sectors, and the AIDS epidemic, poor families in Tanzania are under considerable pressure, and increasing numbers of girls and boys are consequently seeking a living independently on the streets of towns and cities. My research with street children shows that some children orphaned by AIDS are subject to rejection and exploitation by the extended family after the death of their parent(s). They are exposed to considerable risks of abuse, sexual violence and HIV within the street environment. Here, I discuss the links between poverty, HIV and barriers to education, which compound young people’s vulnerability, and offer some policy recommendations in response to the young people’s experiences.
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