Street children

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The term street children is used to refer to children who live on the streets. They are deprived of family care and protection. Most children on the streets are between the ages of 10 and 14 years old.
Jamghat Children at India Gate


[edit] Why Do They Live on The Street?

NGOs and activists believe that there are many reasons why there are so many children on the streets. Some run away from home to escape abuse of some sort. Others run away from the poverty of their homes. Yet others have no parents to take care of them.

Whatever be the reason, they land up in the urban jungles better known as the metros, where every day is spent in trying to survive hunger, beating, illness, abuse and fear.

[edit] Did You Know?

  • NGOs estimate that it takes a child as little as a month of living on the street before he starts taking drugs.
  • Almost every single child living on the streets of Delhi has been sexually, mentally and physically abused.

[edit] Popular Perceptions Of Street Children

It is ironic that street children like these who live such vulnerable lives, are considered in the popular perception to be lawless, crime prone, living on fraud and theft. The most that the State does for such children is to dump them in punitive, jail-like remand homes. Boys and girls who have got used to the freedom of the streets cannot adjust to this regimented, negative environment.

[edit] Current Status of Street Children in Delhi

The result, the streets of Delhi, despite the many lurking dangers, are home to over 40,000 children, who have run away because they got no love and had to contend with constant beating and grinding poverty. Most NGOs agree that this is the number of children who are completely on the streets. However if we were to also count the children who work on the streets, returning home only to sleep at night, plus those who work and sleep in shops, the figure would mount to more than four lakhs.

[edit] About Jamghat

Jamghat is a group in New Delhi which works for the rehabilitation of street children into the mainstream. Founded in 2003 we have a shelter that houses ten children. We have rehabilitated more than 35 children here. In addition to the shelter, Jamghat also holds a daily spot interaction in the form of counselling via outdoor games and providing basic medical aid with around 30-50 street children at Jama Masjid. An area in Delhi which has the maximum concentration of street children due to easy availability of food.

While there are no 'sure-shot' strategies to rehabilitate street children, the ground rules remain the same for most children. The initial phase consists of getting the child to trust the environment of Jamghat without any pressures. Once this bond of trust has been established, the children are taught certain basic social skills and are encouraged to take up formal education or vocational training. Subsequently, these children are taught values such as kindness, respect, discipline, punctuality and so on. During this entire process, a lot of focus is also on sorting out issues that prevent a child from embracing his family and recognizing these relationships.
Jamghat Kids on their Day Out

Jamghat's goal is to provide an enabling environment to street children to evolve as healthy and productive individuals capable of self-dependent existence in society and to help them live a life of their choice in a healthy way.

Jamghat also uses stage and street theatre as a medium to build self confidence in their children and also build awareness in the society on key social issues related to the lives and stories of children, especially street children. It has worked with a number of organisations in this regards including WHO, CRY and ActionAid.

What's New on Street Children

Aids 'ravaging street children'

Street children in Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions have been highly exposed to HIV/Aids due to extreme cases of sexual abuse, a recent survey shows.

The survey, carried out by the Mkombozi Children Centre, also reveals that female domestic workers and those employed as casual workers in industries and commercial farms have been seriously affected by sexual abuse.

But the worst affected are children living in hardships including orphans who are being forced to engage in unprotected sex, the survey shows. Read more

[edit] See Also