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“Street Kid” defined

Patience...Street children have very sad life stories.

Poverty, neglect, abuse and despair are the chief components of their lives. They are neglected not only because their caretakers are too poor to provide them with the normal childhood facilities, but also because people in the social ladder think these kids are a nuisance at best.

Several factors force a child, to work on the street. Poverty and the burden of feeding too many mouths often push parents to send their child to find work. Obviously this is not a part time job to earn pocket-money, but a full-time occupation that could make a difference between a family being fed that day or going hungry.

Children prove to be an important source of income for the family. They may have to sell goods or resort to begging. The hand-to-mouth situation of living means no health care facility and certainly no education. Procuring food and water everyday is such a struggle, the parents fail to see too far into the future and can only dream of the possible advantages of educating their child.

If the description of this child moved you, you will probably be amazed to know that another category of street kids exists that is generally considered more unfortunate than the one that is referred to above. “Homeless street kids” are completely alone. They have no family and no home to go back to everyday. They are at the highest risk of being murdered and abused. With no safety net to fall back on, these kids are consistently ill-treated and fall into the traps of drugs and prostitution early in life.

Due to lack of protective care that a family might provide, they are very vulnerable to emotional and physical abuse. Needless to say health and education are completely ignored because of lack of funds and proper guidance. Unbearable conditions at home often force these children to flee and live by themselves. While there are many who have no family, there are others who run away from violence or lack of care. For them, home is a place of such fear and misery, they look for livelihood and comfort on streets. However, their search for protection and care fails as most believe they are a threat to society which must be removed.

“The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that is the essence of inhumanity” – George Bernard Shaw

One of the saddest aspects is the complete lack of understanding many people in the world show towards street-kids. They are mistrusted and looked down upon universally. Instead of seeing them as victims, people turn away from them because of the common misconception that they are thieves. Despite popular belief, research shows all street kids are not into illegal activities. While it is the toughness of life on the streets which breaks their back, it is the moral policing of the society which breaks their spirit.

An attitude change is important. Only when we develop a true understanding of their plight will we be able to work towards removing the “street” from these kids’ lives.

– Neha Singh

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