How Can I Help?

Posted by Shreyas Tiwari in #TheInvisibles
August 13, 2017
STC logoEditor’s Note: With #TheInvisibles, Youth Ki Awaaz and Save the Children India have joined hands to advocate for the rights of children in street situations in India. Share your stories of what you learned while interacting with street children, what authorities can do to ensure their rights are met, and how we can together fight child labour. Add a post today!

Everyday, while going to a coaching centre where I am able to study and make a future, I come across some traffic signals. As annoying these may be, they manage to make me sad every time I pass by them.

There are four kids I see everyday at the four traffic signals I pass by. These kids either put up their hands asking for money, or sell stuff I won’t probably need in many years.

They pass by me as I ignore them – and though I may seem tough, I feel sad whenever I have to do it. It’s not that I can’t help them. Sure, I have enough money to get a newspaper and help the child – but I don’t. Most of us don’t.

I don’t help them because my parents told me not to. Even though they didn’t give me any reason for this, I still follow their instructions.

Now, why shouldn’t I help them? There was no way I should help them for my own sake – and looking for a reason in the ‘conventional way’ didn’t help me either.

So, anyway, I decided that I would help them by buying papers from them. I thought that if I could give them some 20 or 50 rupees everyday, I would at least be able to down bring their numbers by a fraction – and I would be satisfied.

I did this for a week when I realised that there were five children now (instead of four, which I used to see previously). Contrary to what I had thought, their numbers were actually increasing. So I stopped giving them money.

Weeks later, I realised another thing. Is it really helping, if I give them money?

Only then did I find out that giving money was no help to them. On the other hand, I could think of no way to help them.

So I thought, isn’t it the governments job to help these kids? And I held on to the pride of being a ‘great person’ under an awful government.

But, of late, I have realised a lot of things. I though about the people who run the government – aren’t many of them fathers, mothers, brothers, uncles and aunts? In a way, we are all involved in this vicious circle – not as individuals perhaps, but as parts of the country we represent.

On news channels, we have debates on topics of great, national concern. We have also witnessed how people’s involvement in these topics has helped shape the future of the discourse and its reality in the country. Maybe all of us didn’t agree about all the things, but I think the popularity of the debates/discourses did help to bring change.

That is why we can’t blame the government alone for the children begging in our streets. All of us are to blame for this. But we can solve the issue by the same method by which we have brought change in other spheres. At the very least, we need to start discussing the issue.

At the start, I did mention that I go to a coaching class to study, right? Well, it sucks that some kids can’t!

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Image used for representative purposes only.

Image Source: Dinesh Bareja/Flickr

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