Mumbai and the street children

 

Mumbai and the street children

 

Did you know that India has…

  • the largest number of strret children in the world
  • the largest number of disabled children in Asia
  • more that 50 millions children workers under 14
  • 15 000 missing children every year
  • a large number of children concerned by natural disasters, conflicts or aids

The children of the streets

Bombay, the economic captal of India accounts for 18 million inhabitants (35 million when including the suburbs), out of which 5 million stay in shanty houses. Bombay has the largest slum in Asia : Dharavi.

Every day hundreds of new families reach Bombay, looking for a job and expecting to improve their living standards.

More than 100 000 children live in the streets of Bombay.

WHO ARE THEY ? WHERE DO THEY COME FROM ?

Many of them come from familes broken-up by poverty. Some of them are orphans, others have run away from their homes to survive because they were mistreated or abused. Poverty is generally the main reason for them to run away.

Others have been tempted by the adventure, attracted by the lights of Bombay. The street eventually became more important thant their own family, being a real live place. However these children live without protection, without adult supervision, left to themselves.

HOW DO THEY SURVIVRE ?

They eat whatever they can get wherever they get it. They may beg or shop lift. They do menial tasks like polishing shoes, cleaning taxis or selling small objects that they find. They collect rags, glass and plastic bags. They also seek for food in restaurant bins in order to feed themselves or earn a few rupees.

THEY ARE UNDER PERMANENT DANGER, PHYSICALLY AND MORALLY

Without care and affection, with no directions they are victims of many exploitations. Nobody cares for their health although some of them get dangerous diseases , injure themselves with syringes, needles, razor blandes. Some eventually die from their injuries.

Furthermore, sexual abuses are frequent. The girls are the most vulnerable et live in the fear of rape and prosrtitution.

WHAT CAN THEY BECOME ?

Small delinquents who live of stealing and drugs dealing, rebels, sick people, beggars, unemployed, starving people…. who will eventually generate poverty. In order to take them out of the street it is essential to give them a shelter arand a reason for living !

The Indian organizations Snehasadan, Amand Ashram and Navajyothi work in order to give back a family life to these abandoned children, regardless of their caste and religion.