Neither scorching summers nor cold windy winter mornings not even glittering crystals of rainfall stops them to meet you daily at the same traffic signal. They come running towards you as your car come to a halt at a traffic signal. Dressed in the shabbiest clothes, bare feet they peep inside your car and bang your car windows with their tiny hands for money. They clean up your car to their best, they sell items with a hope that you will give them money for the food. Sometimes their efforts remain fruitless, sometimes a single penny makes them joyous as if they have got everything in life. Sometimes they entertain you with their dance and facial expressions, sometimes tears in their eyes narrating the story of their hunger. Life is so unfair, at this young age instead of carrying school bag on their shoulders they carry burden of responsibilities for survival, instead of holding a pencil in tiny hands they hold flowers or some other item for sale, instead of raising their hand in classroom to answer the question they raise it for begging. They dream but they don’t have means to fulfil them, they want to sleep on cozy bed but flyovers have become their shelter, they want to play with toys but destiny has decided something else for them. They do want to eat delicious food but penny given by you and me decides fate of their meal. Streets are full of these kids who are ignorant of their childhood and of their future courtesy “POVERTY”.
Street children are not confined to begging only but they are illegally employed by tea shops, dhabas , restaurants. Many of us must have asked “chotus for that very special chai at many road stoppages during our lavish road trips. Most of them are engaged in scavenging recyclable materials, they are forced to work in hazardous industries, they are also sometimes engaged in activities such as stealing, pick pocketing, drug paddling and prostitution. Despite of government’s ban on the employment of children under age of 14 years as child labour or domestic help, they not only perform variety of household services from providing care for tiny tods to housekeeping, but they have also been harassed , tortured and beaten up by their masters. The policies so far formulated are still confined to the papers.
Each day is like a challenge for these kids, if on one hand they have to fight for their survival, on the other hand child trafficking and sexual harassment can lead them to exploitation.
It is estimated that India is a home for 18 million street children and because of illiteracy, unemployment and poverty this figure is adding on many innocent kids to the total.
They were born on streets, they played on streets, they growing on streets, they die on streets in short “streets” have become their home. Today they are on streets because their parents were not literate , because their parents were not employed and were not able to provide them a proper meal, and ,tomorrow their very own kids will step into their shoes and will lead the life as street children.
India is a nation where economical inequalities has led big discrepancies between rich and poor on one side rich getting richer and poor getting poorer. Imbalance of the rich & poor is aggravating the existing situation. Daily through newspapers or through press media we come across big scams. CWG scam, 2 G scam, be it Bofor scam or fodder scam, from Telegi to Satyam , from IPL to Coal and Black money stashed in swiss bank accounts, it’s just one thing common in all is CORRUPTION . No doubt both government and NGO’s are formulating policies time to time and providing aid to street kids but that’s not enough. Instead of going into the pocket of babus if all the amount involved in scams would have gone for the welfare and betterment of people who are below poverty line than for sure there wouldn’t have been STREET KIDS, POOR or POVERTY.
Let’s give them helping hand, not with a penny, but by giving them education, by giving nutritious food and shelter. It’s a TIME TO CHANGE and stop tiny hands to raise for begging. Let these hands raise towards a better tomorrow.
this post has been written for Indiblogger’s “Time to change! contest.