The Next Time You Come Across Children On The Street, Ask Them This

Chhotu. Gudiya. Bunty. Munni. Naam to suna hi hoga, madad ki hai kabhi? (You must’ve heard these names, but have you ever tried to help them?)

We come across these names almost on a daily basis—from the main roads of the city to the tea-stalls at the corners of streets—these names, these children, occupy every sphere of our busy lives. But all that I have ever wondered is, have they ever known their real identity?

We call ‘those’ children by ‘these’ names but have we ever bothered to ask them about their identity? Their real names? Perhaps each one of us has a bit of humanity within us, and surely, its exhibition in front of someone who requires it doesn’t make us unkind.

Children on a street in India. (Photo: Ofer Deshe/Flickr)

Imagine heading towards your workplace in a car, sitting on the backseat while your driver drives the car for you. The car stops when the signal turns red, and let’s assume that the car has to wait for 3 minutes. 3 minutes. Then comes a child, shabbily dressed, with a steel container echoing the sound of the clinking coins.

They knock the window of your car and signals you to lend them something. You refuse at first; they don’t budge and eventually, you give them a one-rupee coin or some biscuits you had with you. Congratulations, you just succeeded in encouraging begging in the name of ‘humanity’, and this is where we all fail—we fail to see the thin line between humanity and help.

The question that now arises is, how do we help those children and exhibit humanity without encouraging them to beg? It goes without saying that not all of us can donate huge sums of money to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who work in favour of the children on the streets.

We can surely contribute our bit, but we never know whether it is enough. The least and the most you can do is educate a child. We often hear about the power of education but it’s absolutely powerless without implementation. The next time you come across a child on the street, ask them whether they go to school.

No matter what their answer is, enlighten them about the importance of education and give them your old books. A curiosity to discover the world of education will arise in them; the more they educate themselves, the more will they raise their voice and action seeking a better living.

The elementary education in government schools is free of cost, and if a child is begging instead of receiving formal education, they deserve to know the importance of going to school, and for the same, we need to act as messengers. We need to convey the message which we have all know since ages but never tried to implement.

To provide the children with shelter and basic necessities, the state and the central government is undertaking measures, too, but poverty takes time to eradicate completely. Until then, make sure that the power of education is not just a mere idea in our heads.

Featured image for representative purpose only.
Featured image source: Pexels.
Similar Posts

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below