NGOs identify 30 hotspots of street kids

Prajakta Joshi
Friday, 12 April 2019

“There are 71,058 children living in street situations in Mumbai, Pune and Nashik. Out of these, 14,627 children are from Pune,” said Abraham Hegde

PUNE: Save the Children, a non-governmental organisation, in collaboration with three other NGOs, has identified 30 hotspots of street children in Pune, Mumbai and Nashik. 

Out of these, 12 are in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. In collaboration with NGOs Salaam Baalak, New Vision and Hamara Foundation, the NGO has been trying to identify the children in the age group of 0 to 18 years living in the streets and provide them with an identity to make them visible.

“There are 71,058 children living in street situations in Mumbai, Pune and Nashik. Out of these, 14,627 children are from Pune,” said Abraham Hegde of Save the Children who coordinated the activity in Pune. 

Some of the hotspots identified by the NGOs in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad include areas like Maldhakka Chowk, Gokulnagar in Katraj, the dwellings under the bridge near Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Dias Plot in Gultekdi, Biradar Vasti in Hadapsar, Rakhpasare Vasti in Lohegaon, etc.

To mark the ‘International Day for Street Children’, the NGOs organised children consultations on ‘Child Rights’ in the 30 identified hotspots from April 8 to 12. 

“Over 400 children from the three cities participated. Children expressed their needs to access basic rights through drawing, painting and open group discussions,” Hegde added.

Since last year (April 2018), the street children in these three cities are also being helped to get their legal identity. This will help link them to several social protection schemes of the government. New Vision is coordinating this project in Pune, which will be continuing until March 2020.

“Out of the over 14,000 street children that we have identified in Pune, till date, we have made Aadhaar cards for around 1,000. While many live with their parents, there is a significant number of them who are living on their own. With a lack of documents, it is a very difficult and slow process,” Manish Shroff from New Vision said.

Along with Aadhaar cards, the NGO is also creating bank accounts and making PAN cards for the children who already have Aadhaar cards and birth certificates of around 40 children have also been made.

“These children are invisible. Legal identity is their right. We are trying to make them visible so that we can enrol them in schools as well as ensure that they get benefitted by the social schemes,” Shroff added.

The NGOs have been trying to get these children enrolled in schools. The elder ones are enrolled in skill enhancement programmes that would eventually help them get employed.

In four states (Maharashtra, Delhi, UP, West Bengal) and 10 cities in the country, till now, Save the Children has helped around 2 lakh kids to get legally identified.

- 1 out of 4 children on the Indian streets sleep hungry at least once every week.
- Every third child has faced some form of abuse.
- 63 per cent of children on the streets cannot read or write.
- 70 per cent children in street situations are employed as child labourers.
- 37 per cent of children in street situations sleep on the pavements.

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