How You Can Help the 2 Million Children Living on India's Streets
Salmaan, who used to live on the streets, urges us to stand with children who lack basic rights!
“I want to talk about those kids, on the pavements and at the red lights, knocking on our car windows,”
“Hum jaise bachhe sadko par (children like us, living on pavements)
Shehero mein, roaming par rehne wale (we are like wanderers in the city)
Hum badi badi imarathe dekhte hain(we see high rises everywhere around us)
Lekhin ye baath sach hai, ki imarathe hamare liye nahin ban gaye hai(but the truth is that these buildings are not built for us).”
“Today I want to talk about those kids, who you see every day – on the pavements and at the red lights, knocking on our car windows,”said 15-year-old Salmaan, while addressing the launch of the campaign #EveryLastChild, by Save the Children
Salmaan is well aware of the realities faced on the streets of Delhi as he was a street child before being rescued and rehabilitated by a Save the Children supported NGO.
“You may wonder, why I am talking about them – because I have also faced the same problem, before I managed to come out from that life,”shares Salmaan.
Highlighting some of the issues faced by street children while questioning us for our apathy, he says.
“Under the scorching sun, with our feet burning, out in the rain and in the cold, we face many problems, even violence. At an age when we are supposed to go to school and get to play with friends, we are forced to earn a living. We never find a place where we are welcome or feel safe from harm. Don’t we have the right to dream and aspire for a better life, just like other children?”
“Chhotu (small child), kale (dark-skinned), gudiya (doll) – these are just some of the names we are called every day, but never by our real names.”
Our ignorance has made these children the "invisibles," who are right in front of us but we barely spend five seconds looking at them.
Do you ever wonder who these children are? What are their aspirations? Where they come from or even bother asking them their name?
A recent study by Save the Children India indicates that over 2 million children are out on the street without shelter or protection, and with little or no access to basic services, and on top of it all they don’t have an identity.
Through #EveryLastChild, Save the Children India aims to put a spotlight on the lack of identity and basic services for our little citizens.
Save the Children India works in over 12 states and aims to get over 500,000 Indians the identity they deserve. A promise which was acknowledged by Hon’ble Minister of Urban Development Mr. Venkaiah Naidu who said that the government will incorporate a child safety component in the smart cities agenda.
“We also want to make our nation proud,”says Salmaan, who is now an aspiring actor and youth leader and desires equal opportunity.
Many future leaders, artists, intellectuals, athletes, and more might be among the estimated 2 million who are on our streets. These children need your support. We urge you to stand with them until they get an identity and access to basic services to survive, learn and thrive.
We stand with #EveryLastChild, will you?
Save the Children, India aims to catalyse a movement for and with children for achieving the greatest improvement in the child rights indicators related to survival, education, development and participation aligning with national and global commitments to tackle exclusion and inequalities.