12th April is International Day for Street Children
Here are some stats from Delhi to highlight how grave this issue is:
- Our city has 51,000 of them.20% are girls.
- 70% have their home, but don't want to go back - mostly due to parental issues or family/neighbourhood insecurity.
- 50.5% are illiterate. 87% earn a living—20% as ragpickers, 15.8% as street vendors, 15% by begging.
- Over 50% have suffered verbal, physical or sexual abuse.
- Fewer than 20% have ID cards or birth certificates, and so they miss out on government schemes.
Quick ways in which you can help:
- Volunteer: The most direct method. Join a NGO, Temple, or Gurudwara and ask if they need any help or know any local programs in which you can take part.
- Give A Moment: Rather than brushing them off to make your way, spend 5 minutes to ask them their names, what they like to do, or their favourite games. Just talk.
- Initiate Informal Education: If there are any particular street children you see every day, help them with basic literacy or numeracy skills. You can also teach them 'soft skills' like self-expression, patience, self-discipline and sharing - which are social skills that children would normally pick up in a nurturing home environment.
Between feeling upset and wanting to help these children enjoy a normal life, you, me, we all can make a small, tiny difference somewhere.