On the eve of International Street Children’s Day, Badhte Kadam- a federation of street and working children mentored by NGO CHETNA- organized Street Talk, a live talk by ten such children. These children shared their life journeys in the presence of over three hundred people in an auditorium at India Islamic Cultural Centre on 11th April.
Each of the journeys spoke of the difficult circumstances that these children have survived, and how they could have led a different life if they were provided help at the right time. At various instances, the audience was awestruck by the dedication and perseverance of these children in making their lives worth the dignity and respect they have gained.
Life has never been easy for 16 year old Kajal who is a resident of West Delhi and a former rag picker. She was denied admission in school twice, since she was over aged and lacked proper documents. Yet she never failed to carry a bleak hope in her heart that maybe one day she will get the opportunity to study. Through her sheer grit and unshakable determination, her life took a new turn and she will now be enrolled in Open Basic Education (OBE) through which she will fulfil her long lost dream to study.
Similarly, 13 year old Nisha coming from a poor family has seen poverty and faced problems from a very young age. She worked in a kothi to sustain her family and being the eldest of four siblings, Nisha took on to the responsibility of handling all household chores as well. Even with so much going on in her life, she never gave up on her dream to get education. 17 year old Shambhu, living a difficult life of the streets decided to speak his heart out about his path of struggle. A migrant of Bihar, beginning his journey of selling cucumbers in Delhi and being beaten up by police, Shambhu is now the editor of Balaknama, a unique newspaper for and by street children.
The children also expressed their desire to be talked about in Mann ki Baat by the honourable Prime Minster. “We wish we could find some time to discuss the issue of street and working children with the honourable Prime Minister through Chai pe Charcha. If he could acknowledge and mention our concerns in the Mann ki Baat, our struggle could become much easier”, said Jyoti, the national secretary of Badhte Kadam.
Rashmi Sahani, Joint Secretary of Department of Women and Child Develoment felicitated all the speakers. Four street and working children were given bravery awards for demonstrating courage at various occasions. The Talk was jointly supported by NGOs CHETNA and iPartner.
The idea of the program was to convey society and system that these children have lost childhood due to very small reasons and children can still be saved if schemes are implemented in time said Sanjay Gupta Director CHETNA NGO.