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.
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.