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The Poor Kid Next Door is my Brother

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The area where I stayed was surrounded by slums dwellers. The children would beg for supporting their families, making cute faces, which would make you give money to them, and then their entire gang would ambush you and ask for money. And if you refused, you’d hear some colorful profanities.

They’re kids from the road side slums. Their fathers pull rickshaws or do menial labor, clean toilets etc. Their mothers work as domestic help, beg and try to earn a living.
And like every other respected family, beneath the soot caked faces, the running noses, the torn dirty clothes — lay dreams. To some day have a respectful living.

When I see those kids from around the corner, laughing and playing, grinning with their soot colored faces, my first thought is to laugh at the innocence of the kids — who are like the rest of us. Next is, wish I could do something for these people.

The lady who worked as a domestic help at my place, came from a place far away. She had to battle for a seat in the first train of the day, ward of those roving hungry hands of animals disguised as humans, and come to the city. Then she worked in different houses until 6 and left for her village in the last train.

Her husband was a lazy drunkard who doesn’t work so she threw him out of the house. She has two children who want to be ‘Babus’ when they grow up and they hope to see their mother having a life at home — no more working as domestic help, washing other’s dirty clothes and dishes.

So they go to their local schools.

My mum had been to my ‘bua’s’ (maid) house. She said the children were uber cute and well behaved.

Why on earth do we think these kids are pests, should be given away, they disgrace the country blah blah? I don’t understand.

What I understand is, they deserve a future as we do.

So what can we do for them? We are the more fortunate. We are people who pity them. We are people who wish this ‘calamity’ would end. We are people advocating for the end of poverty.

And we are the people full of big talks. Everything is left to the government. If there are slum dwellers — it’s automatically the short coming of the government.

But what can we do for them? So many of us refuse to give them money. Saying they are frauds. All I know is I wouldn’t beg until I was forced by circumstances to do so. So weren’t these people forced to go begging by their hunger, and basic needs?

Just cuz they’re foul mouthed doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a proper future.

This is what you can do.

* Educate a child or a group. Yes you can do it. If God has blessed you with time and money, you can utilize it by buying a text book and a notebook and teaching a child who wants to study. Dedicate an hour if you can. You’ll at least make a child literate.
* Donate your old clothes. Every year my family instead of throwing our old clothes donates them to Red Crescent Society. You can also give it to your ‘Bua’ or your domestic help, the poor people around you. The sick and the needy. Need I go on?
* A meal a day. If there is a child you are probably educating, you can provide him with a free meal.
* Volunteer at a NGO in your area.
* Sponsor a child. It’s not very expensive. Enroll a child in a local school and pay for their books. You can provide him or her with clothes, or little money monthly. For these people a little investment in their future goes a long way. Is Rs 500 a month too much to make a person’s future?

There’s a lot more you can probably do. Look around you. These people are not different from us. Love them. If you can’t afford sponsoring then donate your old outdated clothes that you won’t wear again. A little goodness goes a long way. And this is Karma — what you give someday comes back to you in exactly the same measure. Be the change.

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  1. Youth Ki Awaaz

    Very right Fatima.

    I completely agree with everything you have said here. I would like to add a bit to this.

    India is facing a serious problem in terms of street children. Out of around 40-60 million street children in India 80% are indulged in drug abuse, out of the remaining 20%, 95% are below 5. They use the much popular 'diluter' as a form of drug, which can lead to brain paralysis.

    100's of NGO's have been trying to curb this problem but are finding it next to impossible. At the Delhi railway station alone, there are over 10,000 street children who do drug abuse.

    A prime reason for asking for money is for buying the diluter. It is a huge scam. Villagers, people from urban areas, thekedars, babus, etc., all are involved in this and the issue is deep rooted.

    Thus, it is better to offer clothes and food rather than money, as you never know what your money could do to their lives.

    I had interviewed a street child recently. See the video at the link:

    Do have a look as it is a big expose`

  2. Fatima

    I completely agree with you. 🙂

  3. Dr. Davon Jacobson, MD

    I must say that this is an impressive website. I love how your posts tie in with current politics so well. You seem to really love your site. Aside from my medical practice, I have a deep interest for all things related to politics. Keep up the great work and please visit by my blog sometime. The url is

  4. The Vitruvian Boy

    Well said….
    We can no longer blame the system…

    We have to be the change….
    enough of expectation for other groups….
    the best thing that we can do for this country is the best utilization of the resources and opportunities available to us….

    If you are from a better back ground..Do appreciate it as god's gift….
    utilize the available resources for the best of you and peopl around you….

    Let hope we all can do this…

  5. Youth Ki Awaaz

    Dear Dr. Jacobson,

    Thanks a lot for the appreciation as well as the much needed motivation.

    It's great to know that you have deep interest in politics as well.

    Would love to see you here more often.

    Anshul Tewari

    Founder and Editor
    Youth Ki Awaaz

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