Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Street Children

India is making huge economic progress, but my country still has a long way to go ......
The issue that pains me most is the state of homeless children. SKCV - India ( Street Kids Community Villages) is doing its bit.

Mark Helyar writes ...."SKCV (Street Kids’ Community Villages) is a project for homeless young people in Vijayawada, Southern India. Founded in 1984 by Manihara, a family friend, it is home to over 150 boys, girls and young adults who would otherwise be living rough on the streets.

There are about 19,000 street and working kids in Vijayawada and over 100 million throughout India. Invariably they are children who have run away from broken homes, abuse and family conflict. Some are abandoned or forcibly thrown out whilst other are attracted to city life by the glamor and appeal of mass media, magazines and movies."

Some hard facts by SKCV are
  • There are more than 100 million street and working children in India.
  • They are eking out a grim existence in India's towns and cities.
  • Children as young as six have to resort to car washing, begging, carrying luggage, fetching tea or working in small industries to support themselves ... and sometimes their families.
  • More than 20% of India’s Gross National Product is produced by children.
  • Girls as young as eight are forced into prostitution in order to survive.

the typical life of a homeless in India is

  • He is around 12 years old from a large family in a disadvantaged, rural area. None of the adults in his family has a job and he is the butt of constant abuse and neglect that finally drives him away from home.
  • He drops out of school and works in small cafes or picks rags for sale or begs to support himself, earning a meager 10 to 75 pence a day. With nowhere safe to keep his earnings, they are often stolen along with the few possessions he may own. Yet in spite of the harsh, often brutal conditions on the street, he finds them preferable to life in an institution.
  • Because he has no regular medical attention or nutritious food, he is constantly sick and weak. He sees his family rarely, but would love to return home it life were different for him there.
  • He is the victim of abuse on the streets, both from the general public who scorn him and the police. In his despair, he turns to drugs or glue sniffing and his health deteriorates rapidly. He is at risk from HIV and Aids, yet does not fully understand the dangers.
  • He harbors a deep mistrust of adults and craves love, security and happiness.
SKCV is doing some really good work. I recommend them for your donations.

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