Articles

Problems Street Children

Street children a term used to refer to children who live on the streets as a city. They are deprived of family care and protection. Most children on the streets are between the ages of about 5 and 18 years old, and their population between different cities is varied.

Street children live in abandoned buildings, cardboard boxes, parks, railway, bus stations and footpaths. A great deal has been written defining street children, but the primary difficulty is that there are no precise categories, but rather a continuum, ranging from children who spend some time in the streets and sleep in a house with ill-prepared adults, to those who live entirely in the streets and have no adult supervision or care.

Street children are divided in to two categories.

  • Children on Streets
  • Children of streets
  1. Children on the street are those engaged in some kind of work, like begging, shoe polishing, cleaning train bogies, cleaning vehicles at traffic signals and involved in selling toys and other materials. Most go home at the end of the day and contribute their earnings to their family. They may be attending school and retain a sense of belonging to a family. Because of the economic fragility of the family, these children may eventually opt for a permanent life on the streets.
  2. Children of the street actually live on the street (or outside of a normal family environment). Family ties may exist but are tenuous and are maintained only casually or occasionally. Street children exist in many major cities.

The problems of street children

  • Abuse
  • Child labour
  • Gender Discrimination
  • Health
  • Homelessness
  • Poverty
  • Abuse:
    • Physical Abuse
    • Sexual Abuse

Many of the street children who have run away from home have done so because they were beaten or sexually abused. Tragically, their homelessness can lead to further abuse through exploitative child labour and prostitution.

A large proportion of the boys and girls on streets have suffered abuse. In addition to fulfilling their material needs, we Valmiki Foundation seek to provide a warm and care atmosphere in future.

Child Labour:

In Hyderarad and Secunderabad a common job is rag-picking, in which boys and girls as young as 6 years old sift through garbage in order to collect recyclable material. The children usually rise before dawn and carry their heavy load in a large bag over their shoulder. Rag-pickers can be seen alongside pigs and dogs searching through trash heaps on their hands and knees.

Other common jobs are the collecting of firewood, tending to animals, street vending, dyeing, begging, prostitution and domestic labour.

Children that work are not only subject to the strains and hazards of their labour, but are also denied the education or training that could enable them to escape the poverty trap.

Valmiki Foundation provides non-formal education to ensure that working children get at least a basic education through our, Destitute children tuition program. We nurture community support for our center and seek to mainstream in to government schools for their formal education.

Gender Discrimination:

In Indian Society females are often discriminated against. Their health, education, prosperity and freedom are all impacted. The problem is worse in conservative Andhra Pradesh than almost anywhere else in India.

For example, because girls carry the liability of dowry and leave the family home after marriage, parents may prefer to have male offspring. Many babies are aborted, abandoned or deliberately neglected and underfed simply because they are girls. This can be seen in the fact that female mortality rates amongst 0-4 year olds in India are 107% of male mortality rates, whereas the comparable number in Western Europe is 74%.

Gender discrimination is particularly evident in education where boys are more likely to attend school and to do so for more years. The traditional place of the woman is in the home and so many parents and children consider education for girls to be a waste of time, especially when the child can instead be working or performing domestic chores. Only 38% of Indian women are literate and, at 64%, the gender parity between literacy rates amongst Indian women and men is one of the most unequal in the world.

Child Marriage is another way in which girls are disadvantaged. In addition to limiting educational possibilities and stunting personal development, early marriage carries health risks. A girl under 15 is five times more likely to die during pregnancy than a woman in her twenties; her child is also more likely to die.

Valmiki Foundation emphasizes care and opportunity for girls. We, Valmiki Foundation believe that Girl child education is the future of the nation, Hence we would like to promote girl child education.

Health

Poor health is a chronic problem for street children. Half of all children in India are malnourished, but for street children the proportion is much higher. These children are not only underweight, but their growth has often been stunted; for example, it is very common to mistake a 12 year old for an 8 year old.

Street children live and work amidst trash and open sewers. Not only are they exposed and susceptible to disease, they are also unlikely to be vaccinated or receive medical treatment. Only two in three Indian children have been vaccinated against TB, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio and Measles; only one in ten against Hepatitis B. Most street children have not been vaccinated at all. They usually can not afford.

The HIV/AIDS rate amongst Indian adults is 0.7% and so has not yet reached the epidemic rates experienced in Southern Africa. However, this still represents 5 million people, or about 1 in 7 in of those in the world who have the disease. The rate amongst children is lower, but because street children are far more sexually active than their Indian peers and because many are even prostitutes they are thus hugely at risk of contracting the disease.

Valmiki Foundation provides nutritious food, cloths for these types of needy children. We organize an AIDS awareness programs for street children, school and college students.

Homelessness:

Street children in India may be homeless because their family is homeless through poverty or migration, or because they have been abandoned, orphaned or have run away. It is not unusual to see whole families living on the sidewalks of twin cities of Hyderabad, or rows of individual children sleeping around the railway station.

Homeless children have the odds stacked against them. They are exposed to the elements, have an uncertain supply of food, are likely miss out on education and medical treatment, and are at high risk of suffering addiction, abuse and illness. A single child alone on the streets is especially vulnerable.

Valmiki Foundation prioritizes homeless street children. For them we provide counseling and awareness to go back to their families and enrich the importance of education, when we visit to the residential homes for street children. And also we are planning to run a residential home for homeless children very shortly.

Poverty:

Poverty is the prime cause of the street children crisis. Children from well-off families do not need to work, or beg. They live in houses, eat well, go to school, and are likely to be healthy and emotionally secure.

Poverty dumps a crowd of problems onto a child. Not only do these problems cause suffering, but they also conspire to keep the child poor throughout his/her life. In order to survive, a poor child in India will probably be forced to sacrifice education and training; without skills the child will, as an adult, remain at the bottom of the economic heap.

The root causes of poverty are beyond a single NGO’s power to change, but Valmiki Foundation believes in helping where it can. Destitute children tuition program provides education, as does mainstreaming of children into government schools and offering scholarships to private schools children and also helping the poor people.