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EVERY STREET CHILD IN NORTH BENGAL DESERVES A CHANCE TO GO CHILDHOOD TO LIVELIHOOD.

 
   
 
MESSAGE FROM SECRETARY
 
 
A BETTER HOME FOR THE HOMELESS CHILDREN
 
 

“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.” – Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 25, par. 1()

 
 

Often children are abandoned, orphaned, or thrown out of their homes. They have no choice and finally end up on streets. It may be because of the mistreatment, neglect or that their homes do not or cannot provide them with even the basic necessities. Many children also work in the streets because their earnings are needed by their families. The reasons for these children's homelessness may be interlinked with social, economic, political, environmental causes or a combination of any of these.  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.

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 STATITICS

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. Many studies have determined that street children are most often boys aged 10 to 14, with increasingly younger children being affected (Amnesty International, 1999). Many girls live on the streets as well, 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.

Vulnerability and homeless and street children 

Children who are vulnerable to street life include those who have been abandoned by their families or sent into cities because of a family's intense poverty, often with hopes that a child will be able to earn money for the family and send it home. Children who run away from home or children's institutions frequently end up on the street since they rarely return home due to dysfunctional families, or physical, mental, and/or sexual abuse. In several areas of the world, disabled children are commonly abandoned, particularly in developing countries. In addition, refugee children of armed conflict areas, children separated from their families for long periods of time, and AIDS orphans, repeatedly find nowhere to go but the streets.

Protecting children 

Many governments, non-governmental organizations, and members of civil society around the world have increased their attention on homeless and street children as the number of this disenfranchised population continues to grow dramatically. Nonetheless, more action is necessary. Most importantly, as a result of adverse economic conditions in many countries, an international plan to provide basic housing needs to be developed. 
In 1992, the United Nations issued a Resolution on the Plight of Street Children, expressing concern over the emergence and marginalization of street children, and the acts of violence against them. The Resolution called for international cooperation to address the needs of homeless children and for enforcement of international child rights laws. European nations that have taken effective steps toward combating homelessness include Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. In many countries, governments have included a right

to housing in the national constitution.[8] The Finnish devised a plan in 1987 including house-building, social welfare, health care service, and a duty to provide a decent home for every homeless person. The number of homeless people in Finland was cut in half after 10 years.[9] However, the major problem with State programs is that children often reject the alternative assistance offered by the State.

Get involved 

If you are interested in helping street and homeless children, you can volunteer to work in shelters and other programs in your area, or donate funds or supplies to organizations that work with street youth. Finally, you can raise awareness of this issue by educating yourself, your peers, colleagues, students, teachers, family members, and others around you interested in this issue.

With Warm Regards

Mr. Swajan Kumar Dey, MA. MPhil

 
 

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