This thesis examines various aspects of the life of street children in the Ecuadorian city Cuenca. Although several street children come from Cuenca itself, the city, situated in the Andes, is visited by street children from all parts of the country, especially from the coastal cities Machala and Guayaquil. The street children always seem to be on the move. Their mobility is a typical feature. One of the causes that make children leave their families and houses is poverty; these children come from the poorest layer of the Ecuadorian society. Ecuador has suffered economic problems, especially since the end of the nineties. The consequence of this very low conjunction has its effect on families. It is essential to understand the features of the household composition in order to understand why the children leave their homes. One reason why children decide to leave their homes is the fact that they may have problematic relationships with their parents and stepparents. However, the family, or the idea of the family, is a strong and important value in the Latin American society. Many of the street children I describe have chosen to leave their families. Nevertheless, many keep in touch with their relatives, and once in a while the parents look their children up and try to persuade them to come home, or the children decide to go home themselves. By meeting other children that are labelled street children, a child or adolescent now belongs to a stigmatised group, a group that society thinks of as dangerous. In Cuenca I studied and participated in a project aiming to help the street children. I discovered that many intertwined themes emerged and I decided to include them all in this thesis. One theme investigated is the economic activities of the children. Living on the street, the children are forced to employ several economic strategies, as the family fails to secure their basic needs. They steal, beg and some work as street vendors. Their work is short term, and often spontaneous. Giving and receiving gifts and sharing are therefore very important values in the street children's lives. Their pattern of consumption is also a topic that I analyse in this thesis. Another inevitable issue is the use of drugs; most of the street children sniff glue. The use of drugs is looked upon as unfortunate by the Ecuadorian society. I also study how the project in question, which has as a goal ending the use of drugs among the children, works with the street children. The project faces a difficult task because the relationships on the street are superior to the words of an educator. Continuity, understanding and patience are keywords in order to achieve success working with street children.