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“Bus 174” Children: Oppressed, Neglected, and Stigmatised Essay

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Updated: Mar 17th, 2022


Directed by Jose Padilha, Bus 174 is a fascinating documentary published in 2002 in Brazil. It includes people like Sandro, Williams, Luciana, among others. Sandro is a street boy who hijacks a bus, demanding to kill the passengers, a case that forces their journey to stand still for four hours.

The media collect this information. During the event, the police force fails to turn up in time, a situation that gives the street children a good opportunity to harass and steal from the passengers.

This movie gives the findings of Padilha’s research on the situation of media and traffic in Rio de Janeiro basing on how the two responds towards the hijacking. Street children are all over the city, some begging and stealing while others are harassing the innocent people.

Neither police nor media is interested in assisting. Bus 174 provides a picture of the level of poverty in the city through the street children who had parents and relatives but now are alone to feed and sustain themselves. This on the other hand sets clear the reason as to why the kids have turned to robbers.

The documentary aims at portraying the life of those living in slums in Brazil. It also shows mistreats of the poor by the government. Padilha is interested in knowing Sandro’s motives behind the hijacking where he searches the information from the present as well as previous street kids.

He also questions the police, family members, not neglecting sociologists to gather clear reasons. This film finds out the background of Sandro as a representative of all Brazilian street children.

It explores the kind of police Brazil has, who participate in crimes rather than nurturing peace, love, and harmony. Many people have set out to comment the movie and among them is Soares. This overview tackles the relationship between his ideas and the current global state of street children as well as what is being done to meet their needs.

Soares’s comments

Sociologist Luiz Eduardo Soares after seeing and understanding the documentary, goes further to comment it. Based on what Sandro does to the passengers in the bus, Soares views him as an illustration of the kids neglected by their parents. He says that they end up accumulating pain as a result, which later is poured to other people inform of fighting.

In response to this comment, Erving (1963) portrays how neglected people, not necessarily street kids, express their pains and how they use it to communicate to those available to cater for their unattended needs. An example from the movie is seen when Sandro points a gun to a pregnant mother shooting her to death. Soares goes on to comment about the reason for their violence (Padilha, 2002).

Any sound mind person expects love; he/she needs to be felt by the society and expects no discrimination based on race, religion, or finance. This is what Soares gives as another reason, generally given by all, who end up lacking the aforementioned requirements. He says that they do this because of the stigma attached to them.

According to Heatherton, Kleck, Hebl, and Hull (2000) this category of people experience negligence and are prone to attacks, a situation that presses them forcing them to show it through reactions .Soares comments that these children are usually fighting against invisibility. This simply shows how they a treated as if they do not exist. They view the society as feigning blind when they meet them.

They pretend not to understand that these are children like any others and ought to be taken care of. Their fight serves to open the eyes of the society to see their sufferings and their need of attention. For instance, in the movie, the young and poor Sandro watched his mother murdered. There was none to see and respond towards the incidence (Brussat & Brussat, 2009).

Therefore, in retaliation, Sandro engages in violent acts because just like any other neglected child, he believes that it is only through force that the invisibility aspect can be arrested. They have at the back of their minds that they are valuable and important but none seems to realise this and this is what they want to instil to the concerned people.

They are hungry, not only for food but for love and social interaction that the society ought to give. They have been quiet hoping common sense will do it all only for them to realise that it is through raising alarms inform of violence that the ears and eyes of the society will be opened for them.

Current global trend of street children

Ransel’s research provides the world news about street children. He has given the estimates of the number of the street children in various countries of the world. For instance, Yemen registers an approximate of 30,000 street children (Ransel, 1998). It goes further to give the factors thought to influence the number, not only in Yemen but also through out the entire world.

Poverty, lack of jobs, inadequate socialization, government’s failure to intervene the situation of orphans, among others plays a major role in raising the number of these children. Street children have the right of attention by the government but on the contrary, the government views them as sources of embarrassment and pays no attention to them.

As poverty increases day by day, the number of those going to the streets also goes up with the children opting to beg in order to sustain their deteriorating lives. This is in accordance with soare’s idea that they feel neglected by the rest, including the government.

The current global economy is in crisis. All countries are running short of finance to run their businesses. As a result, retrenchment cases are being reported everywhere with parents of large families leaving jobs. Any home with no source of income is subject to conflicts.

Charles (1855) says that these conflicts end up breaking the families and as a result, the children suffer inadequate parental care and guidance. They enter their nearby towns yearning for socialization, food, and parental attention. To take care of these, they venture into businesses like drug trafficking, prostitution, as well as stealing. This happens because people view them as dirty, cannot allow them in their homes, and not worthy of assistance.

Soares got it right when he said that these children are stigmatised and suffer a lot as a result. Death of parents though diseases, accidents, or old age has also been viewed by the globe as a major cause of the increasing number of not only street children, but also children at large. It has been shown that places prone to diseases register the largest number of children at risk.

Impact of the view of invisibility of street children on programme development

Following the efforts made by the children in fighting against invisibility, the world has responded through various ways. It has come up with suitable criteria that, if well managed, can help rid the issue of street children. Statistics show that in all the countries, children at risk are the minority but the number is gradually increasing.

This has called for a quick action from the government to curb the matter before it worsens. It has seen the importance of recognising them just like theirs. Organizations, not only governmental but also non-governmental have stood out to address the requirements of street children, some of which have proven effective.

Media is one of the key means of responding to the battle. Any scenario that abuses the rights of children is aired immediately and stern actions taken against the abuser boosting respect between other people and the children.

This is clear in the movie where the hijacking event channels to televisions, which in turn alerts the police force (Hayden, 2009). Other programmes have been established to prevent the children from adopting the street life.

These include family care and free education programmes. Other programmes have set out to specifically deal with those children who had gone through sexual, physical, or drug abuses. These offer rehabilitation services to the children helping them recover from the harassments.

Some Non-Governmental-Organizations have set up programmes that assemble the children in homes managed by the organizations. In these homes, the children have people, paid by the organization, who attend to them on a day-to-day basis.

These people provide them with food, shelter, clothing, and education, among others. Others extend their services by following up and counselling those who have recovered and gone back to their original homes.

Medical programmes have also been set in place to check the health of the children. By so doing, they are able to prescribe the necessary feeding habits of the children. Outreach programmes have not been left out. They aim at maintaining close relationship between the organization and the children.


Bus 174 is a documentary that is heavy laden with lessons, not only for the Brazilian, but also for all in general. Following the hijacking of the bus by a boy from a poor family background, it is open that the incidence is a way of communicating to the world and applies to the oppressed, neglected, and the stigmatised.

It is experienced by all countries and is commonly portrayed by street children. It has been proved effective since it has opened the ears and eyes of a variety of agencies devoted to caring the children. This on the other hand, has lowered cases of theft, drug abuse, and sexual harassments.

Reference List

Brussat, F., & Brussat, M. (2009). Bus 174. New York.

Charles, D. (1855). Household Words: Vol. 10, Bradbury press: India.

Erving, G. (1963). Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. Prentice-Hall. Hayden, S. (2009). Factual Documentary Covered Hijacked Bus in Rio de Janeiro.

Heatherton, et al, (2000). The Social Psychology of Stigma, The Guilford Press.

Padilha, L. (2002). Bus 174. Golden Globes.

Ransel, L. (1998). Mothers of Misery: Child Abandonment in Russia. Princeton.

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