Wednesday, 20 October, 2021
E-paper

Rehabilitation a must for street children

Rehabilitation a must for street children

A four-column box item published in this newspaper's yesterday issue manifests a gloomy picture of exploitation, mistreatment and humiliation of Dhaka's street children that they face at every step of their day-to-day existence. They are visible on the busy city streets, but they are often ignored by the passers-by who have no time to show little sympathy towards them. Whether people take notice of their plight or not, it is a shame for the entire nation that has achieved freedom through a bloodbath and sacrifice of 30,000 martyrs.

Abandoned, casted off, discarded, rejected and thrown out of the mainstream, around 2.5 million street kids countrywide endure deprivation and rights violations, with little regard given to their best interest. These children are escaping from poverty, inadequate housing, broken families, domestic violence, displacement and natural disasters. They take to the streets because there is simply nowhere else to go. Once on the street they are destined to suffer from discrimination and stigmatization. Most often, they are seen collecting rubbish for recycling, scavenging rubbish dumps, shining shoes, selling flowers, magazines and newspapers, and sometimes engaging in street crimes like selling drugs and petty theft, et cetera. They are frequently forced into such activities by organised gangs who are not visible to the public. Lots of others make their ends meet by begging.

But, these kids are not just numbers or faces on the streets. They are part of our society, living human beings who are deprived of a playful childhood, care, love and compassion. The neglect, indifference and disrespect with which they are treated, call for action. They need to be provided with identity, shelter, education and health care, skills and employment opportunities to make them productive members of communities. So, the government and NGOs as well as charitable foundations and philanthropists should come forward for proper rehabilitation of scores of these hapless children who would otherwise be at risk of being completely wasted. As plants need protection, nourishment, and proper environment to grow into big fruit-bearing trees; they also need protection, promotion, nourishment, and proper environment to grow into useful and responsible citizens to serve the nation.