Street children in India live in the worst of conditions – in temporary houses or even under flyovers in cities having barely anything to eat, wear and with no proper access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation facilities. They are also forced to beg and even labour at a tender age – when they should be studying. At times, they get dragged into it because of the lack of basic necessities.
Before providing education for them, the government should first fulfill the basic minimum requirements of food, clothing, shelter and sanitation. As youths, we can always raise awareness about the issue of child labour and teach them not to be involved in it, even if they do it to support their family’s needs. The government should also take the pains to educate their parents about family planning.
I’ve had some interactions with the daughter of domestic help who also works as a help in the same locality. She also attends an evening school. I tried persuading her to go to school only – and that, she should be playing at her age. However, she was reluctant about this as she needs to feed her siblings and support the family.
The government should keep a check on all kinds of commercial, labour-based factories if they are hiring children. Dhabas also need to be under the scanner. A few officers should also pay surprise visits to such places. More importantly, the government should basic facilities such as health, food, shelter and education facilities for these children.
As youths, we can spread awareness regarding child labour and the need to prevent it. We can also encourage street children to study more and leave labour work. India’s youth can also take out time and help impart educational and life skills to these children – skills which may help these children later in life.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.