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A detail study at life on the streets children

in India

Chapter 1- Preface

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 25, par. 1:


“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and
well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing
and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in
the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or
other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
In Indian constitution:
Article 21- Protection of Life and Personal Liberty: No person shall be
deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure
established by law. Right to Life means the right to lead meaningful,
complete and dignified life.
Article 47- Right to nutrition and standard of living and improved public
health
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948:
Article 25- Right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well
being of himself and of his family

Runaway (dependent) in general


Runaway, he is a minor or a person under a random age depending upon the local
jurisdiction who has left the home of his or her parent or legal guardian without
permission or has been thrown out by his or her parent and is considered by the local
authorities to lack the capacity to live under his or her own deal.
In North America, runaway children or youth are widely regarded as a chronic and
serious social problem. It is estimated that each year there are between 1.3 and 1.5
million runaway and homeless youth in the United States1. This problem also exists in the
United Kingdom, with runaway youths often congregating in London.

Studies suggest that the primary cause of youth homelessness is family dysfunction in the
form of parental neglect, physical or sexual abuse, family substance abuse, and family
violence2. Family conflict can also be caused by sudden and or drastic changes in the
family composition (i.e. a divorce, re-marriage, death of a parent), parental substance
abuse, youth's substance abuse, and youth's sexual activity. According to The Homeless
Hub3,"they have difficulty obtaining affordable housing (landlords being reluctant to rent
to a 16 year old), and because most are drop-outs, they have difficulty competing
successfully in the job market".

A related term is used for runaways is "throwaway youth". Normally a throwaway youth
or child is someone who has been "locked out" or forced to leave home by his/her parents
or caregivers. However, the distinction between runaways and throwaways is not clear as
in many cases it depends on who provides the information. When the parents are asked
they say the youth ran away, while the youth would say he or she was forced to leave,
either directly or by circumstances. In most cases, youth run away because the situation at
home is seen as unbearable and not because they are looking for excitement or fun.

Running away from home is considered a crime in some jurisdictions, but it is usually a
status offense punished with probation, or not punished at all.4 Giving aid or assistance to
a runaway instead of turning them into the police is a more serious crime called
"harboring a runaway", and is typically a misdemeanor.5

Present situation of the runaway station children


1
Coco & Courtney, 1998; Cauce et al., 1994
2
Smollar, 1999; Robertson & Toro, 1998
3
See at http://www.cga.ct.gov/2003/olrdata/kid/rpt/2003-R-0130.htm “Background on Status Offenders”
4
See at http://law.onecle.com/illinois/720ilcs5/10-6.html Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 - 720 ILCS 5,
Section 10-6
5
See at http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/parental_kidnapping.pdf Criminal Parental Kidnapping
Despite the perils of station life, the children who have found a shaky home in Mumbai
Central may be the fortunate ones. Those who end up in one of Bombay's thousands of
"pavement communities" (living on sidewalks, in parks, or in empty lots) are at higher
risk for disease, starvation, and sexual abuse.
In the stations, the boys are under the domain of the railway police. In the past, the
Railway Protection Force had a mandate to clear stations of unaccompanied children. The
result was all of them were perceived as criminals. That attitude began to change in the
late 1990s. A national 24-hour hot line for runaway children opened in 1996 and receives
1,000 calls a day in Bombay alone from people who find runaways and lost children and
call to have them picked up and taken care of.
In 2000, the government passed the Juvenile Justice Act, which outlines the rights of
children and mandates the government to work with NGOs to address the problems of
homeless children. Incidents of violence against the kids are now rare, and commuters
who see a child being beaten are more willing to interfere than before. Despite the
changes, serious threats to children remain, such as police taking bribes from brothel
agents.
The presence of NGOs does more than help the children. Although adolescent boys,
some of whom work the trains in groups as pickpockets and necklace-snatchers, are still a
major problem, railway police say petty theft by younger children has declined in recent
years. The feeling among observers is that children who are looked after by someone are
less desperate and more law-abiding.
The police often deny the existence of juveniles making their permanent homes in
railway stations. But railway police routinely use station children to fetch tea, clean
stations, and do less pleasant tasks (Eg: On a recent afternoon at Bombay's Thane railway
station, two officers ordered a group of station kids to remove from the tracks the body of
a woman struck by a train a few minutes earlier).

Real Stories
; of Amir at Mumbai Railway Station:
Alone and afraid, Aamir was initially grateful when a ‘kind’ older couple befriended him
on his arrival in Mumbai. This chaotic urban sprawl is now India’s largest city and home
to more than 20 million people.
More than nine million of them live in slums, raising families in shacks built from
rubbish on top of open sewers. For a homeless 12-year-old child freshly arrived from the
countryside, it is a terrifying place to be.
Overcrowding is now so bad in this huge metropolis that shanty towns have even sprung
up in the international airport. People in rags scavenge as giant jets thunder past just feet
away. But for many on the Indian sub-continent, Mumbai will always bethe city of
dreams — a place of Bollywood film stars and gold-paved streets. It was certainly the
image that brought Aamir here.
Fleeing a violent, drunken father in rural India — his motherhad died years before —
the12-year-old had sneaked on to a train bound for the city. And when he got there, he
hoped to make his fortune. It was not to be. Alighting at Victoria Station, the city’s main
terminal and an architectural monument to the days of the British Raj, Aamir was
penniless and bewildered. He started begging for food. Within minutes, a couple emerged
from the crowd and approached him.
They gave him cakes and said they’d take him away to start a better life. ‘I thought they
were may be social workers or religious people,’ he told me. But Aamir’s food was
drugged and when he became drowsy, the couple put him in a rickshaw and took him to
the city’s municipal hospital, which is where the real nightmare began.
For at the hospital, a doctor was paid to amputate one of his healthy legs. Now speaking
in the third person, as if to pretend it didn’t happen to him, Aamir tells me ‘the child’ was
in ‘great pain’ after the operation. ‘The leg is removed here,’ he says, pointing to his own
stump and grimacing. His limb had been severed mid-calf, leaving him without a foot.
Now in hiding after being rescued from the hospital by a charity, Aamir is one of
hundreds of Indian children deliberately crippled by gangs so they can earn extra money
begging. He still struggles to talk about his experience. Asked to describe what he thinks
about those who ruined his life,he just stares at the ground in silence. Crippled for life, he
is now the lowest of the low.
;of Dalbeer:
Dalbeer, 15, is another victim of this shocking industry. Reduced to begging at the
railway station after his parents died, Dalbeer was approached by two friendly older
strangers one day. ‘I thought they were may be social workers,’ he told me. ‘I thought
they could help me.’ But he was taken from everything he knew to Nagpur, a city
athousand miles from Mumbai, after the woman told him it would ‘be better there’. And
there, along with several others, he was deliberately crippled before being brought back
to Mumbai and put to work begging. His leg had been severed in the same place as
Aamir’s.
Indian film star Amitabh Bachchan said the film unfairly portrayed a 'dirty underbelly' of
India
So just who would chop off the leg of a healthy child? The boys are victims of India’s so-
called ‘beggar mafia’ — criminals so violent and a moral that they are prepared to hack
the limbs off children, as well as steal new-born babies from hospitals. They use the
children as begging ‘props’ to maximise their earnings from sympathetic passers-by.
The plight of India’s child beggars has been thrust into the international spotlight by
Slumdog Millionaire, the British-made film that won 8 Oscar Awards. Branded ‘poverty
porn’ by some Indian critics, the film has caused controversy in a country that wants to
promote itself as amodern economic super-power. Due to open in India this week with
the Hindi title Slumdog Crorepati, the film-makers have been criticised by police and
politicians for painting an ‘outdated’ portrait of a corrupt,violent country. Their anger
centres on a scene in which an Indian boy is intentionally blinded by gangsters so that he
can earn more as a beggar.
‘They are making out that India is a Third World, dirty underbelly, developing nation,’
snorts Amitabh Bachchan, one of the country’s leading film stars and a powerful,
patriotic voice.6

Chapter 2- Definition
6
See at http://www.slumdogs.org/slumdog-blog.html accessed on 8-10-09, at 3:00pm.
Who are Considered Homeless and Street Children?
Article 27 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) asserts that “States Parties
recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical,
mental, spiritual, moral and social development.” Homelessness denies each one of those
rights. According to an Inter-NGO Program on street children and youth, a street child is
“any girl or boy who has not reached adulthood, for whom the street (in the widest sense
of the word, including unoccupied dwellings, wasteland, etc.) has become his or her
habitual abode and/or source of livelihood, and who is inadequately protected, directed,
and supervised by responsible adults.”

US AID has divided Street Children into Four Categories:

• A ‘Child of the Streets': Children who have no home but the streets, and no family
support. They move from place to place, living in shelters and abandoned
buildings.

• A ‘Child on the street': Children who visit their families regularly and might even
return every night to sleep at home, but spends most days and some nights on the
street because of poverty, overcrowding, sexual or physical abuse at home.

• Part of a Street Family: These children live on sidewalks or city squares with the
rest of their families. They may be displaced due to poverty, wars, or natural
disasters. The families often live a nomadic life, carrying their possessions with
them. Children in this case often work on the streets with other members of their
families.

• In Institutionalized Care: Children in this situation come from a situation of


homelessness and are at risk of returning to a life on the street.
The Psychology of the Runaway
Runaways are from unique population among adolescents. Studies have shown that
runaways are less adjusted than their nonrunaway peers, have lower achievement levels,
are more frequently depressed, have poor family relations, and engage in more delinquent
activities. Other researchers have suggested that runaways are sociopaths—that is, they
refuse to commit to or believe in the traditional values and norms of the society within
which they live. In addition, runaways have been portrayed as impulsive loners who are
prone to excessive aggression when frustrated. They can also be passive-aggressive and
possess several different personality disorders. Because the act of running away
frequently involves feelings of intense alienation between children and their families,
these children are, many times, quite exploitative and manipulative of other people. They
do not trust others, thus they do not feel any obligation to treat others with respect. For
this reason, many social programs designed to administer to this population focus on the
provision of psychiatric care and counseling.7

Street Child Statistics

The hidden and isolated nature of street children makes accurate statistics difficult to
gather; however, UNICEF estimates there are approximately 100 million street children
worldwide with that number constantly growing. There are up to 40 million street
children in Latin America, and at least 18 million in India.8 Many studies have
determined that street children are most often boys aged 10 to 14, with increasingly
younger children being affected (Amnesty International, 1999).9 Many girls live on the
streets as well,10 although smaller numbers are reported due to their being more “useful”
in the home, taking care of younger siblings and cooking. Girls also have a greater
vulnerability to trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation or other forms of child
labor.

7
See at http://family.jrank.org/pages/1430/Runaway-Youths-Psychology-Runaway.html accessed on 12-
10-09 at 3:03 pm
8
See at http://www.oneworld.org/guides/streetchildren/
9
Beasley, Rob. “On the Streets,” Amnesty Magazine. April 1999.
10
Ibid.
Homelessness in India

With a population of well over 1 billion people, India is the second most populous nation
in the world. According to UN-HABITAT, India is home to 63% of all slum dwellers in
South Asia. This amounts to 170 million people, 17% of the world’s slum dwellers.
India's per capita income, although rising, rank's it 124th in the world. This low per capita
income is one factor that marks the sharp divide between India's wealthiest and poorest
citizens. Approximately 35 percent of India's 260 million people (a group almost equal to
the entire population of the United States) still earns $1 or less a day. And according to
the United Nations, 70 million people earn less than $2 a day. As India continues to grow
in economic stature, there's much debate over the country's ability to tackle poverty and
urban homelessness. A 2001 census reported that 78 million people across India were
living without a home, many in overcrowded urban environments.

Definition:
Street children is a term used to refer to children who live on the streets of a city. They
are deprived of family care and protection. Most children on the streets are between the
ages of about 5 and 17 years old, and their population between different cities is varied.

Street children live in abandoned buildings, cardboard boxes, parks or on the street itself.
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.

A widely accepted set of definitions, commonly attributed to UNICEF, divides street


children into two main categories:

• Children on the street are those engaged in some kind of economic activity
ranging from begging to vending. 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.
• 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, especially in developing countries, and may be
subject to abuse, neglect, exploitation, or even in extreme cases murder by "cleanup
squads" hired by local businesses or police.11

What is the definition of a street child in India?

The reality of the street child is the naked and vicious face of poverty, sickness and
exploitation. The tragedy is, that those who bear it are themselves innocent, lonely and
frightened young children.
Street Children are those unfortunate children who basically:
• Have only intermittent contact with parents or family (usually mother or sisters)
but live most of the time with other street children in the city streets, or are on the
move. {There are numerous reasons for a child to leave home}
• Have been literally abandoned by their parents/relatives, found themselves on the
street from the beginning because of family problems, or have chosen to leave
home due to some kind of constant abuse.
• Those who have run away from home can further be separated into two
categories:
Those who have an unpleasant or traumatic home environment.
They experience family problems they are unable to solve: i.e., alcoholism, child abuse,
ill treatment by stepparents, unemployment and poverty. Their tolerance level has been
far exceeded, leading to the drastic decision to leave their family.
Those who have run away from home, who wanted to study/work but were not allowed
and came to experience the exciting experiences of city life, glamourised by magazines
and movies.
11
See at http://www.slumdogs.org/newsflash/designer-dips-into-nostalgia.html, on 18-10-09, at 1:27pm
Religion of street children in India varies greatly according to area, but, in general,
approximately 70% are Hindu, 18% are Muslim, Christian and other. Percentage of
Hindu children is as high as 82% in Hyderabad, Indore & Bangalore. (Almost 50% of
Hindu children belong to scheduled caste or tribes.)
82.7% of street children are boys. Girls are more difficult to trace but they are, by far, the
most vulnerable.

Chapter 3

Factors Contributing to Homelessness


A wide array of factors contribute to homelessness, but they can be thought of as falling
into one of two categories: structural problems and individual factors that increase
vulnerability.
Children may end up on the streets for several basic reasons: They may have no choice -
they are abandoned, orphaned, or disowned by their parents. Secondly, they may choose
to live in the streets because of mistreatment or neglect or because their homes do not or
cannot provide them with basic necessities. Many children also work in the streets
because their earnings are needed by their families. But homes and families are part of
the larger society and the underlying reasons for the poverty or breakdown of homes and
families may be social, economic, political or environmental or any combination of these.

In a 1993 report, WHO offered the following list of causes for the phenomenon:

• family breakdown
• armed conflict
• poverty
• natural and man-made disasters
• physical and sexual abuse
• exploitation by adults
• dislocation through migration
• urbanization and overcrowding
• acculturation
• Divorce
• Disinheritance or being disowned
• Lack of affordable housing
• Changes in the industrial economy leading to unemployment
• Inadequate income supports the de-institutionalization of patients with mental
health problems and the erosion of family and social support.
• Factors that increase an individual's vulnerability
• Physical or mental illness
• Disability
• Domestic violence
• Unhealthy relationships between young people and their parents or guardians.
• Poverty: - Homelessness and poverty are attached together. Poor people are not
in a position to pay for housing, food, child care, health care, and education.
The orphaning of children as a result of HIV/AIDS is another cause that might be added
to this list.

In seeking to address the issue of street children, it is essential to know why children are
there. According to the responses of the children themselves, poverty is a major
contributing factor. As shown in Table, financial reasons account for over 50% of the
responses. The lack of family or a home, as indicated earlier, was infrequently cited as
the major reason for being on the street. A significant proportion of the children indicated
that the main reason they were on the streets was to be with friends (although this may
reflect more why they were on the street as opposed to a centre, rather than why they are
on the streets in the first place.)

Table 1:
Reasons for Being on the Streets

Reason Frequency Percent

To work/make money/help 605 49.1%


Parents/beg
Poverty/suffering 63 5.1%

Assorted family problems, 67 5.4%


including abuse
Lack of family/home 77 6.3%

Following friends/peer 188 15.3%


pressure/avoiding school
No response 232 18.8%

Total 1232 100.0%


Street children with relatives were asked specifically why they were not staying with
them. Among the 464 children (37.6%) who were not living with their parents, and who
had living relatives but were not staying with them, the reasons given for not staying with
those relatives also point primarily to economic difficulties, with a significant portion
citing family problems or mistreatment (see Table 2).

Table 2:
Reasons Children Do Not Stay with Relatives (for Children Not Already Staying with
Parents)

Reason Frequency Percent

Poverty/lack of financial 153 33.0%


means/lack of capacity
Does not want to/parents 98 21.1%
won’t allow it
Assorted family problems, 109 23.5%
including mistreatment,
drinking, disputes

Distance/lack of transport 37 8.0%

Does not know relative’s 36 7.8%


location
Relates to no home 4 0.9%
Child is self-sufficient 27 5.8%

Total 464 100.1%

Table 3:

When Children are on the Streets, by Sex

WHEN ON THE MALE FEMALE TOTAL


STREETS
Day and Night 270 (30.4%) 26 (14.2%) 296 (27.7%)

Day Only 611 (68.9%) 150 (82.0%) 761 (71.1%)

Night Only 6 (0.7%) 7 (3.8%) 13 (1.2%)

TOTAL 887 (100.0%) 183 (100.0%) 1070 (100.0%)

12
Figure 1: When Children are on the Streets, by Age

120

100

Both day and


80
night

60 Daysonly

40 Nightsonly

20

0
(Age in years)
4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
Asked how long they had been on the streets, roughly half (49.1%) indicated that it had
been two years or less, and two-thirds (65.2%) said four years or less. Under ten percent
had been on the streets for more than four years. A rather large number of children only
indicated that they had been on the streets for a long time or did not know for how long
they had been there.
Table 4:

Length of Time Spent on the Street

DURATION FREQUENCY PERCENT CUMULATIVE %

Less than 6 months 163 13.2 13.2

6 months – 1 year 236 19.2 32.4

1 – 2 years 206 16.7 49.1

3 years 125 10.1 59.2

4 years 74 6.0 65.2

5 – 9 years 118 9.6 74.8

43 3.5 78.3
‘A long time’
Do Not Know/No 267 21.7 100.0
response
Total 1232 100.0 100.0

Who is a homeless child?

A person under age 18 who is living in a shelter, motel, vehicle, campground, on the
street, in sub-standard housing, or doubled-up with friends and relatives due to a lack of
housing. Runaway, throw-away teens and abandoned children are also considered
homeless.

Impact of Homelessness on Children


According to a report published by the United Nations, there are 150 million children
aged three to 18 years on our streets today—and their numbers are growing fast. 40% of
the world's street children are homeless, the other 60% work on the street to support their
families. The UNICEF, World Health Organization (WHO) and several NGO's have got
disputing figures in their account of street children. According to CRY (Child Relief and
You) about 60 million Indian children under the age of 6 live below the poverty line. The
problem has become particularly acute for homeless children, one-fifth of who receive no
education.

According to Indian Embassy figures, there are 314,700 children living on the streets of
Bombay [Mumbai], Calcutta [Kolkata], Madras [Chennai], Kanpur, Bangalore and
Hyderabad, and another 100,000 live in New Delhi; however, these numbers may not
reflect the true picture, as accurate census information is difficult to collect. In truth,
millions of India's children are denied even the most basic rights of survival and
protection. Children living on the streets are especially vulnerable to victimization,
exploitation, and the abuse of their civil and economic rights.

Impact of homelessness/ runaways on children

Homelessness influences every facet of a child’s life — from conception to young


adulthood. The experience of homelessness inhibits the physical, emotional, cognitive,
social, and behavioral development of children. Difficulties faced by homeless children
include depression, low self-esteem, lack of sleep and nutrition and feelings of shame and
embarrassment. These children are exposed to the harsher realities of life.

Some of the challenges they face are listed below.

Abuse: - Many of the street children who have run away from home because they were
beaten or sexually abused. Tragically, their homelessness can lead to further abuse
through exploitative child labor and prostitution. Street children are routinely detained
illegally, beaten, tortured and sometimes killed by police in some countries.
Child Labour: - A common job usually street children do is rag-picking, in which boys
and girls as young as 6 years old sift through garbage in order to collect recyclable
material. 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. Child labourers
suffer from exhaustion, injury, exposure to dangerous chemicals in addition muscle and
bone afflictions.
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, animals 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 and do not trust, doctors or medicines.
Addiction: - Many street children use a number of inhalants (glue, gasoline, lighter fluid)
and illegal drugs (marijuana, cocaine and heroin).
Street children looses their rights to emotional, physical and social development, to
survival, health and education, to play, cultural activities and recreation, to protection
from cruelty and exploitation, to participation, freedom of expression, access to
information, and to a role in public life and personal decisions. Returning these rights,
through providing shelter, health, education and training for these children, should be
focused rightly. Though there is an increasing number of programs being run by NGOs
throughout India, these are not enough to address the problem as a whole.

The media both in national and international level are giving much attention to the street
children in recent years. The 2009 Oscar Award nominated movie “Slumdog Millionaire”
by Danny Boyle have drawn much attention to the life of homeless /street children in
India. The efforts to increase awareness have led to several initiatives involving
numerous groups working with street children, the launching of specific schemes and
programs at the local, state and national level and the initiation of numerous studies on
street children. A central scheme for the welfare of street children has recently been
initiated by the Indian Government’s Ministry of Welfare, which gives funding to NGOs
on programs related to street children.

STREET CHILD ACTIVITIES IN INDIA


Street children learn to cope with life on the streets very quickly. They learn to live off
the street. The following is a list of activities and occupations undertaken by street
children in India to earn a living:

• Collecting and selling waste paper, plastic, scrap metal etc.


• Cleaning cars and two-wheelers,
• Selling water, sweets, biscuits, clothes etc.
• Selling newspapers and flowers on streets
• Making and selling flower garlands
• Begging, pimping, pick pocketing, stealing
• Working in roadside stalls or repair shops
• Coolie work or working in small hotels (kitchens etc)

A study at Rajasthan
Hope abandoned this single-room house in Chittorgarh years ago. Now Ratanlal Mali,
his wife and three children do not expect to see Seema again, three years after the eldest
child went missing. She was 13 then. Ironically, the two accused in the kidnapping are a
police constable and his wife. Vinod Kumar, who was arrested but freed on bail later,
continues to be in the police. And in this fact lies the despair of the poor Mali family.
On September 9, 2005, Amina Maniyar’s daughter Aabida, then 15, did not return home
from work. The mother went to the police to report the girl missing. “Bhaag gai hogi,”
the police told her. Then she went again and again, over a year. “Bhool ja usey,” she was
told. Amina says the police may be right that Aabida ran away but as a mother, she can’t
live peacefully on that assumption. “I must know if she is safe.”
WHEN it comes to bearing the pain of a missing child and feeling totally helpless about
it, a Ratanlal or an Amina has large company. Since 2001, 1,029 children are reported
missing from across Rajasthan. And these are official figures, confirmed by the police at
the district level. But senior police officials claim that the actual figure might be smaller.
The reason: once a child comes back, nobody bothers to report it to the police, they say.
Leaving the “accurate” number aside, what the data here show is that on an average, 170
kids go missing in Rajasthan every year, or one child every two days. And nearly an
eighth of this number is cases of kidnapping.
Backed by these numbers, the police believe that most of the missing kids actually run
away following a conflict at home or in search of a better life. When the police say 15-
year-old Aabida may have eloped, they have a little over 18 per cent chance of being
correct. Two in 10 girls who go missing do in search of better life as a model or an actor,
said a social worker here. Another two out of 10, mainly between ages 14 and 17, run
away to get married.
Cases are registered only when there is a suspected kidnapping, but often there is no clear
answer to who ran away and who was kidnapped.
“In more than 90 per cent cases, the children have run away from home after a fight. And
most of them come back once their money runs out or their anger subsides,” says A K
Jain, addition DGP of crime. “But the parents don’t bother to inform the police.”
M L Chowdhry, who runs the Gram Vikas Sewa Sanstha, a Johpur-based organisation
working with street children, agrees. “Most children run away in search of a better life.
They may be poor, have an abusive father or a sex-worker mother. And most of them do
not come back if they earn enough to for two meals a day.”
But tell this to Seema’s family. Constable Vinod Kumar was posted at Udaipur while his
wife lived at Chittorgardh. She often called Seema over for house work. On July 28,
2004, Seema was at her employer’s house. “After sometime, the lady came to our house,
claiming that Seema had stolen her gold earrings and had gone missing,” says Ratanlal.
“She told us that her husband, who was in town then, was searching for her,” says the
daily-wager.
Initially, the police in Chittorgarh refused to file a complaint. But the Malis went to the
SP, where an FIR was lodged. Kumar was arrested and later freed on bail. He continues
to be in service, currently stationed at Baswada.
Or try convincing Amina Maniyar, who is still waiting for Aabida. She may be among
the 82 per cent girls who go missing but have not “eloped”. But there seems to be no way
to ascertain that.
Rajasthan does have a missing persons cell, though. It is a lean affair, with one sub-
inspector and a couple of administrative staff to man it. It is hard to expect this cell to go
looking for missing persons when you get to know that the data the cell maintained was
updated only after the Rajasthan High Court demanded to know how many children were
missing in the state in the last three years.
The court has directed the CBI to look for 502 missing children, Half of the actual figure
in the state.
All this full-time cell does is send pictures and details of missing persons for ads on
television and in newspapers. These ads get displayed for a week, after which they are
forgotten. The authorities here make it clear at the very outset that it is called a “cell” but
“isn’t one actually”.
“Finding a child is not easy. Even if one deploys 10 policemen, they may not be able to
trace the child because he might be in any corner of India,” says Jain.
“The cell can’t find the children. Anyway, it is the duty of the district police and that too
is quite difficult because in several cases people don’t even have a photograph of the
missing person,” Jain says.
Over at the one-man cell, in-charge Anwar Khan says: “Our job here is to collect the
data, which we do every month.”
So these are the main points which are the factors contributing to runaway and its impact
on the society.

Chapter 3

HEALTH CONDITIONS
The health condition of street children is generally poor. Many suffer from chronic
diseases like TB, leprosy, typhoid, malaria, jaundice and liver/kidney disorders. Venereal
disease is rampant among older ones (14yrs+). Scabies, gangrene, broken limbs and
epilepsy are common. HIV & AIDS cases are now widely seen. Most street children are
exposed to dirt, smoke and other environmental hazards. They are constantly exposed to
intense sun, rain and cold.
Though there are supposed to be "free" Government / Municipal Hospitals in all cities,
street children do not have easy access to them due the need to pay bribes to enter, or the
indifferent or hostile treatment meted out to them by the staff. Bangalore, Vijayawada
and Hyderabad report extreme conditions in this regard.
Due to the unhygienic environment, poor quality and/or inadequate food, low access to
medical care, exposure to the elements, exposure to acts of violence, sexual risk-taking,
etc. The most commonly cited recurring health problems of children in the rapid
assessment included malaria (cited by 12.4% of the children), headache (6.8%), and
cough (3.5%). Asked if they had been sick recently, one third (33.1%) responded
affirmatively.
Of those suffering recurring health problems, approximately 78.7% reported receiving
treatment for it. Similarly, of those reporting a recent illness, 81.8% said they had
received treatment. In both cases, a clinic was the most common source of treatment,
followed by family members and then friends. Family and friends combined accounted
for the source of treatment in over 40% of the cases, with ‘traditional healers’ and self-
treatment each also accounting for about 5%, raising serious questions about the quality
of care.12 Pain killers such as panadol and cafenol were the most common treatments,
reported by nearly one third of the children. Other common treatments included malaria
tablets and other miscellaneous medications, including ‘traditional’ medicines.
Mumbai has an estimated 1.5 lakh street children, who take refuge at railway stations,
pavements and shelter homes, with little or no access to healthcare.
Much more prone to diseases associated with risky sexual activity and/or drug use. In
Toronto 50% of street children surveyed had chlamydia. 13 In Cambodia, 40% of all new
HIV infections are in street working children.14 In Guatemala 53% had sexually
transmitted diseases.
12
In decreasing order of prevalence, the ailments included malaria, headache, cough, abdominal pains, and
diarrhea.
13
See at“ Strategies to combat homelessness”s, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, Nairobi,
2000, http://hq.unhabitat.org/en/uploadcontent/publication/hs.599.06.pdf accessed on 9-10-09 at 5:27pm.
A study also found 92% of the children had lice and 88% had contracted upper
respiratory infections due to exposure. Skin infections were also common.15

Study on Mumbai Street Children

An ongoing independent study in Dadar, Bandra, Kurla, Borivali and Chhatrapati Shivaji
Terminus being conducted by Bangalore-based Institute of Public Health, as part of the
process towards drafting the guidelines, showed that children visit government hospitals
due to their affordability, but they have to purchase medicines. Of the 128 children
surveyed, 98 had suffered some form of illness in the past year and 92 children visited a
health facility. Some children mentioned having to pay bribes in public hospitals, while
87 children were addicted to some form of psychosomatic substances.

Most street children were seen sniffing whitener fluid. Surprisingly, no use of tobacco,
sniffing glue or drugs was found in Borivali. Children at Borivali said that it was an
“unspoken dictum” among them.

The study also found that NGOs are concentrated at bigger railway stations, leaving out
small stations like Sandhurst Road, Wadala and Mira Road.

As most street children do not have bathing and toilet facilities, many suffer from chronic
diseases like asthma and dysentery.16

Sion Hospital Mumbai also noted that respiratory tract infection was most common,
along with complaints of diarrhoea, sticky stools, abdominal pain and worm infestation,
scabies, boils, malnutrition.17

14
Sebastian Marot, Director FRIENDS in consultation with Cambodian NGOs, reported by Consortium for
Street Children, 2003.
15
Nancy Leigh Tierney, “Robbed of Humanity: Lives of Guatemalan Street Children”, Pangaea, Saint Paul,
1997.
16
See at http://streetkidnews.blogsome.com/category/1/asia-streetkid-news/india-streetkid-news/at 2:25
17
“In a first, BMC gets talking about street children’s health”, on Fri, 9 Oct 2009, in Expressindia News
Paper.
Street Children Statistics18:

INDIA, STATISTICS
Population
India 1,065 million

Children <18 years 420 million

Children <5 years 118 million

Living on <$1/day 360 million

of whom, children 140 million

Orphans 35 million

HIV/AIDS infected 5.2 million

Rajasthan 56 million

Jaipur 3 million

Some Indicators and International Comparisons:


India World
31% of infants are born with low birth-weight 14% in Sub-Saharan Africa
15% in Middle-East & North
Africa
7% in East Asia
9% in Latin America

7% of infants die before their 1st birthday 10% in Sub-Saharan Africa


4% in Middle-East & North
Africa
3% in East Asia
3% in Latin America

46% of children under 5 are malnourished 28% in Sub-Saharan Africa


14% in Middle-East & North
Africa
16% in East Asia
7% in Latin America

31% of children have adequate sanitation 36% in Sub-Saharan Africa


facilities 72% in Middle-East & North
Africa
50% in East Asia
75% in Latin America

61% of children reach grade 5 at school 66% in Sub-Saharan Africa


91% in Middle-East & North
Africa
93% in East Asia
83% in Latin America

58% adult literacy rate 60% in Sub-Saharan Africa


67% in Middle-East & North
Africa
90% in East Asia
90% in Latin America

64% gender parity rate (literate women as % 76% in Sub-Saharan Africa

18
See at
of literate men) 74% in Middle-East & North
Africa
91% in East Asia
98% in Latin America

46% of children enter into child marriage 40% in Sub-Saharan Africa


(1986-2004) n/a in Middle-East & North
Africa
20% in East Asia
25% in Latin America
Statistics: Unicef, 2005

Chapter 4
Violence19
Law and order officials and self-styled vigilantes both attempt to ‘clean the street’ of
these children in many parts of the world. In Latin America the problem is particularly
acute with the worst offenders being Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras. An
average of three street children are killed every day in the state of Rio de Janeiro. In
Cairo, street children are routinely rounded up and beaten by the police, their heads are
shaven and then they are transferred to crowded detention centres.

19
Strategies to combat homelessness, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, Nairobi, 2000,
http://hq.unhabitat.org/en/uploadcontent/publication/hs.599.06.pdf
Higher rates of drug use and involvement in petty crime make them vulnerable to
violence from others like them. The main reason for gang membership is protection.

Over half the street children in India sexually abused


The government today admitted that the number of children on Indian streets was rising
and though there was no authentic data available, the country, as per a Unicef survey, was
home to the world’s largest population of street children, estimated at over 18 million.
According to one assumption 40 per cent of these children are in need of care and
protection, which indicates the extent of the problem. While two out of every three
children were physically abused, 53.22 per cent children have been reported to have
faced one or more forms of sexual abuse, reveals Child Abuse: India 2007, a study by the
ministry of women and child development
According to a sample survey carried out in 13 states in 2007, however, revealed their
number at 18.6 per cent with more than half of them having been sexually abused. While
Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Delhi reported the highest percentage of sexual abuse
among both boys and girls, 21.90 per cent child respondents reported facing severe forms
of sexual abuse and 50.76 per cent other forms of sexual abuse. The report states that out
of the child respondents, only 5.69 per cent reported being sexually assaulted. Children
on the street, children at work and children in institutional care in Assam, AP, Bihar and
Delhi reported the highest incidence of sexual assault. The numbers, however, are far
from accurate as most street children do not report the incidents. The minister of state for
women and child development Mrs Krishna Tirath admitted that the 18.6 per cent street
children in 13 states ~ AP, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Kerala, MP, Maharasthra,
Mizoram, Rajasthan, UP and West Bengal ~ 54.51 per cent were abused sexually.

‘Ministry has no database of street children’


New Delhi, May 1: The women and child development ministry has no database of street
children, the target group of Integrated Scheme for Street Children (ICPS) Programme, a
parliamentary committee has said, terming the findings as "surprising".
The parliamentary standing committee on human resource development in its report said:
"The committee is surprised to know that the ministry does not have any database on the
street children in the country, the target group of the ICPS while analysing the scheme."

The ICPS aims at providing shelter, nutrition, health care, education and recreation
facilities to street children and seeks to protect them against abuse and exploitation.

The panel in its report suggested that the ministry start preparing a data base detailing the
number of children on the streets and those benefiting from this scheme.

Expressing displeasure over the lack of basic infrastructure in the centres and
effectiveness in the new scheme, the committee pointed out that despite 90 per cent of the
financial assistance for the scheme being provided by the Central government, there
seems to be lack of initiative for encouraging state governments and involving more
NGOs for opening up centres for street children.

UNITED NATIONS CHILD RIGHTS CONVENTION

Children should enjoy:

• The Right to survival


• The Right to education
• The Right to good health
• The Right to free expression
• The Right to be heard
• The Right to enjoy their own language …

and, indeed, many other rights, but apart from the obvious Rights of the Convention, the
most prominent problem that street children experience arises from the law-makers and
implementers, and the child’s lack of identity.
EXISTING LAWS CONCERNING STREET CHILDREN

There is absolutely no legislature that specifies the term "Street Children" in the judiciary
of India. The laws applicable under the Juvenile Justice Act 1986 relate quite strongly to
the care of and rights of street children in general, without mentioning them in any term,
but are found, on a national level, not to be implemented properly at all. In fact, many
police officers/constables in the field do not know about the details of the Act.

JUVENILE BOARDS AND COURTS

The Juvenile Justice System has proved to be ineffective in coping with the problem
under its present structure. [Example: 3,301 cases were brought before Juvenile Court in
Mumbai in 1989, the number of street children is 50,000]. There are many States in India
where there exists no Juvenile Board or Juvenile Court system.
Street children are, in many cases, sent to remand in adult jails where they are abused,
both physically and sexually, for indefinite periods of time. There is little or no provision
made for these young children to contact their parents or obtain proper guidance or legal
representation. The children eventually escape from these "Homes" just as they run away
from their real home.
In other States, street children are placed under the "care" of observation homes, remand
homes and other Government juvenile centres, but it is just as well known that these so-
called child care centres are sadly lacking any semblance of actual care.
There is a need for these centres to be taken over and run by the NGO’s, and the Ministry
has recently mooted such a proposal for Social Welfare. Discussions and meetings are
under progress, but when the reality of such a proposal will be realised, is very unclear.
The Juvenile Justice Act has to be looked at very carefully in terms of street children and
needs to be closely scrutinised. If changes are affected, then the implementation of the
Act on a national level needs to be seriously and permanently looked at.
The Apprenticeship Act 1850 which enabled public charities to bring up orphans and
poor children teaching trades etc.
The Reformatory Schools Act 1867 dealt with neglected and delinquent children.
The Juvenile Justice Act 1986 dealing with "the care, protection, treatment, development
and strengthening process of neglected or delinquent juveniles, and for the adjudication
of certain matters relating to, and disposition of, delinquent juveniles".

ARBITRARY DETENTION, ARREST AND IMPRISONMENT

Street children are constantly arrested, locked up, tortured and abused in all ways because
there is none to take responsibility for them. They live in fear of arrest and long
detainment. They have no faith in the police or the judicial system.
They disrespect the legal authorities because they have rarely experienced any kindness
or understanding from anyone at that level.

THE RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS

For street children, this aspect is conspicuous by its absence, and totally ignored by the
relevant authorities. Street children are arrested, locked up, sent to remand, runaway, are
arrested again beaten locked up and so on and so forth without ever being offered a word
of legal advice, much less a lawyer, or a government counsellor. They are sent to
lockups, and sometimes jails, for days together without even a hearing. The remand
homes sometimes make an effort to trace the parents, but usually the parents do not come
for one reason or another, usually poverty. So the child grows up in an environment of
cruelty & abuse, physical, mental and sexual and if he/she does not have the wits to
escape, emerges a hardened criminal with total contempt for society in all its aspects
when they are 18yrs old.
The Municipal Corporations are, however, showing some interest in the plight of street
children. Studies show that there are more small programs for street children in the
country today than ever before and that some are either located in Municipal Buildings or
assisted by the Local Body. i.e. Vijayawada, Hyderabad, Chennai etc. The Juvenile
Justice Act 1986 is now defunct since the U.N. C.R.C., and India’s ratification of the
same. The new J.J.Act is better but needs serious discussion.20

Chapter 4
Rehabilitation of the street Children
ANALYSIS OF STREET CHILD ASSISTANCE IN INDIA

Until 1993, the term "street child" was not in the "Official Vocabulary" of post-
independence India. After the local as well international pressure of NGO’s the
Government of India set up a "Scheme for Assistance to Street Children" under Ministry
of Welfare, which was launched in February of 1993. The Scheme was supposed to be
implemented in only six major cities initially.

20
See at www.skv.com/street%20children%20in%20india.htm on 9-10-09 at 5:00pm.
Prior to the release of the Scheme there were many meetings between NGO’s and
Government officers, and the Government noted and agreed many suggestions for
improvement and better management for the scheme, but not implemented in the final
draft.... leaving the Scheme empty and ineffective for NGO participation.
Although clearly stated there that three years minimum experience in the field was a
requirement but immediately after the release it was seen that many NGO’s not working
in the field of street children, but with political clout, applied for and received the large
amounts granted for said assistance.
Since, the programme has been extended to more cities (with 1 million plus population).
But the most sincere NGO’s in the field are not interested in the funding because of the
lack of understanding of the Government towards the assistance to street children and the
elasticity needs of the NGO’s in working with the street children. The jumping on the
bandwagon by unqualified NGO’s however, continues. No other scheme of assistance
has been offered by the Government specifically for street children.

“An Integrated Programme for Street Children”

One more programme has been launched for the street children by the government. The
objective of this programme is to prevent insolvency of children and help them in
withdrawing from life on the streets. This programme provides for shelter, nutrition,
health care, education, recreation facilities to street children, and seeks to protect them
against abuse and exploitation. The strategy is to develop awareness and provide support
to build capacity of the Government, NGOs and the community at large to realize the
rights of the child enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and
in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. The object group of
this programme is children without homes and family ties i.e., street children and children
especially vulnerable to abuse and exploitation such as children of sex workers and
children of pavement dwellers. Children living in slums and with their parents are
excluded from the coverage of this scheme.

State Governments, Union Territory Administrations, Local Bodies, Educational


Institutions and Voluntary Organisations are eligible for financial assistance under this
programme. Upto 90% of the cost of the project is provided by the Government of India
and remaining has to be borne by the Organisation/Institution concerned. Under the
programme, no predefined cost heads are stipulated. Depending upon the type of activity
and the nature of service, an appropriate amount not exceeding Rs. 1.5 million per annum
can be sanctioned as recurring cost for each project. The grant under the programme is
released to selected organizations in two equal half yearly instalments.

• The programme component of a project under this scheme can be:-


• City level surveys;
• Documentation of existing facilities and preparation of city level plan of action;
• Contact programmes offering counseling, guildance and referral services;
• Establishment of 24 hours drop-in shelters;
• Non-formal education programmes;
• Programmes for reintegration of children with their families and placement of
destitute children in foster care homes/hostels and residential schools;
• Programmes for enrollment in schools;
• Programme for vocational training;
• Programmes for occupational placement;
• Programmes for mobilizing preventive health services;
• Programmes aimed at reducing the incidence of drug and substance abuse,
HIV/AIDS etc;
• Post ICDS/Aganwadi programmes for children beyond six years of age;

• Programmes for capacity building and for advocacy and awareness building on
child rights.21

In Rajasthan total investment through 'An Integrated Programme for Street


Children' during the year 2008-09:
Financial Assistance to NGOs running Street Children/Childline projects under the
scheme 'An Integrated Programme for Street Children' during the year 2008-09,
Rajasthan India Institute of Data Interpretation and Analysis(I-India) 1, Lakshmi Path,
21
See at http://wcd.nic.in/streetchildscheme.htm accessed on 12-10-09 at 4:47 pm.
Hathroi, Jaipur-302006 for Street Children, amount released was 11.29 lakhs and no. of
beneficiaries were 800.
Rajasthan Jan Kala Sahitya Manch Sansthan, F-70, Shankar Marg, Kanti Chandra Marg,
Bani Park, Jaipur-302006 for Street Children amount released was 10.80 lakhs and no. of
beneficiaries 800. So total Rupees in Lakh in Rajasthan is 22.09 and no. of beneficiaries
were 1600.
A community to watch out the station children
In Mumbai, a helpful agent, labor recruiter, or other predator usually approaches children
within 15 minutes of their arrival, according to Saathi- An NGO organization. To
maintain a 24-hour watchout, NGOs enlist the help of vendors, bathroom cleaners, ticket
checkers, and others who work in the station. A community that is in the railway station
can understand who are the new faces. When new children are identified, reuniting them
with families can be difficult. Many come from close-knit rural villages, where there is a
strong stigma associated with runaways. Often reluctance is shown by other families to
accept the returning children.

Rehabilitation projects:
In America

The Family and Youth Services Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services funds three grant programs to help runaway and homeless youth:

1. The Basic Center Program funds emergency shelters where youth can stay for up
to 15 days. Shelters aim to keep youth safe by providing them with immediate
needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. Shelters may also provide
individual, group, and family counseling, and if desired, help reunite youth with
their families.22

2. The Transitional Living Program funds programs that help homeless youth
develop skills that allow them to become independent and may prevent them from
depending on social services in the future. Shelter, services, and counseling are
provided for up to 18 months for youth ages 16 to 21 who are unable to return to
their homes.23

3. The Street Outreach Program funds local youth service providers that reach out to
homeless youth living on the streets and in unstable housing. The providers offer
emergency shelter and other services to young people who have been, or who are
at risk of being, sexually abused or exploited, with the goal of helping them leave
the streets.24

The Family and Youth Services Bureau also provides funding for the National Runaway
Switchboard, a national hotline for runaway youth, youth who are thinking about running
away or are in crisis, parents, and other concerned adults. Available 24 hours a day 365
days a year, the hotline (1-800-RUNAWAY) is confidential, anonymous, and free.25

In Turkey

Some children in the age group 6-14 who should be in school but end up in streets
working either to contribute to their family subsistence or for some other reasons and
whatever their working conditions may be they are all vulnerable to various risks and
threats as mentioned above. The government of Turkey in GAP Administration considers

22
See at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/fysb/content/youthdivision/programs/bcpfactsheet.htm/ “Basic
Center Program fact sheet”
23
See at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/fysb/content/youthdivision/programs/tlpfactsheet.htm/
“Transitional Living Program for Older Homeless Youth fact sheet”
24
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/fysb/content/youthdivision/programs/sopfactsheet.htm/ Street Outreach
Program fact sheet
25
See at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runaway_youth on 18-10-09, at 1:03pm
such children as a disadvantaged group and it has therefore launched the "Project for the
Rehabilitation of Children Working in Streets" in partnership with national and
international organisations, NGOs and local governments.

The full title of the project is "Rehabilitation of Children Working in Streets in


Gaziantep, Batman and Sanliurfa" and it is implemented as one of the second stage
projects of the wider "Programme for Strengthening Integrated Development in the GAP
Region and Reducing Socioeconomic Disparities" jointly carried out by the GAP
Administration and UNDP.26

Under the project the "75th Year Child and Youth Centre" was launched on 15 February
1999. The centre is used as a means to protect children from risks and threats in streets;
provide for their needs including education, health, clothing, etc. and eventually save
their from streets and child labour.

The project had different achievements which are as under:

• The Centre mentioned above is active.


• 636 children were registered to the centre and 1,316 children benefited from the
services of the centre.
• 3,246 children were delivered services in streets.
• 368 children were enrolled to primary schools.
• 850 children were placed in Regional Boarding Primary Schools (YİBOs)
• 700 children, who run the risk of working in streets benefited from "Summer
Courses Programme".
• 423 children took courses in computer skills.
• 580 children took courses in painting, music and handicrafts.
• 200 benefited from the services of the Learning Centre.
• 200 children were given supportive courses.
• 650 children received counselling services.
• 562 children were given health screening.

26
See at http://www.gap.gov.tr/English/Sosprj/cocuk.html accessed on 13-10-09 at 2:10 pm.
• 250 children were served lunch everyday.
• 26 female siblings of street children were given vocational training courses.
• 300 families were covered in cash assistance scheme.
• 43 mothers and female siblings took courses in cutting-sewing.
• Fathers of 10 children took training in "Start Your Business".

"WOULD YOU BE MY SCHOOL GUARDIAN?"

One activity carried out under the "Rehabilitation of Street Children" which is
presently implemented by the GAP Administration, UNDP and governorates of
Batman, Sanliurfa and Gaziantep is the campaign "Would you be my school
guardian?".

In the campaign, school materials (textbooks, notebooks, uniforms, school bags, etc.)
of children working in the streets of Sanliurfa, Batman and Gaziantep will be
provided by volunteer guardians and families of these children will also be supported
economically. Any volunteer "guardian" is expected to provide such assistance once
unless he/she is willing to continue it. Educational assistance extended by volunteer
guardians will be followed on the web.

The basic aim of the campaign is to withdraw children from hazardous work
including working in streets which pose many threats to their physical, mental,
emotional and social development.
Suggestions:
After going through the text of the project in America and Turkey and their achievement
in the respective field the guidelines are open for Indian Government also for
implementation of the different project works and policies for the street children and their
rehabilitation. One more suggestion for the improvement of the street children is Self
Employment. The street children are getting aided from the production of jewellery and
accessories, made by those children themselves by one NGO in Jaipur called I-India. I -
India27 has organised such facility for these children at Jaipur in Rajasthan Through these
programmes, and the dedication of the teachers, staff and volunteers, children are
learning confidence, social values and most importantly, skills which will carry them
further in life.

Conclusion
In reality the problems associated with running away are multifaceted. Children and
adolescents who leave home in the hopes of a better life on their own lose far more than a
mere roof over their head. They lose the social and emotional support that comes with a
loving family; they lose the feelings of security that only parents can provide. As
education becomes a distant and fleeting memory, these children likewise lose the desire
and opportunity to excel and compete with others from their own age cohort. They are
27
Since 1993, i- india, a charity based in Jaipur, India, has been working for the welfare and educational
needs of street children.
truly the forgotten children, and attempts to understand and accommodate these
vulnerable youths should be imperative. Running away is not an idyllic rite of passage for
young people. It is not Huckleberry Finn floating down the Mississippi on a homemade
raft. It is a harsh and brutal reality for millions of children worldwide, and it is a reality
that needs to be addressed immediately. Programs such as the National Runaway
Switchboard28 have made great strides in understanding and assisting these youngsters,
but more attention must be paid to the national runaway problem, as the experiences of
these impoverished children are far more intense and undoubtedly more dismal.29

28
See at http://www.1800runaway.org accessed on 13-10-09 at 2:45 pm.
29
See at http://family.jrank.org/pages/1431/Runaway-Youths-Conclusion.html, accessed on 10-10-09 at
1:15pm.