Wednesday, 1 December, 2021
E-paper

Rehabilitation of street children

Rehabilitation of street children

Frustrating all sincere efforts to eradicate child labour and make worthy citizens out of street children, hundreds of thousands of poor boys and girls in their early teens, and even below that age, are engaged in different odd jobs in and out of informal sectors of the economy, especially in cities and towns. While many of them are busy in dungeons of hard labour with unimaginably low pay, others are selling newspapers, candies or flowers in the streets to supplement their family income. Many of them still have the dreams of going to schools but only to be nipped in the bud. Very often their dreams turn into daydreams under the grinding wheels of poverty and destitution. Thus we are allowing a considerable segment of our children to get lost in obscurity, with no hope of coming out of ignorance and pauperisation.

 

Poverty of the parents is the main reason behind this sorry state of affairs. But lack of awareness of the guardians is no less responsible for this. In many cases, parents force their children to earn instead of sending them to schools, even when they can afford the same. Thus they are ruining the future of their children and throwing them in perpetual impoverishment.

 

Bringing these children out of hardship is ultimately the case of freeing their families from poverty. If parents can manage shelters and two square meals a day, they will not engage children in earning jobs provided that they are aware of the importance of educating their children. However, that is a very lengthy process, depending on the rate of overall socio-economic development of the country. In the mean time, special arrangements can certainly be made to provide working children with food, shelter, healthcare and education – as two rehabilitation centres in the city have reportedly been doing under the government’s children rehabilitation programme. More such centres should be opened wherever necessary. Investment in rehabilitating street children will bring better dividend both for the families and the nation.