If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders – George Carlin
There are a lot unaccounted number of people in the world who are homeless, and they range from different ages to different sex. But, let’s focus on one segment of such homeless people – Children. In other words, the Street Children.
According to a study in the early 2000s by The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), a United Nations programme launched for the protection of the rights of the children, it was estimated that there are over 100 million street children in the world, with 40 million in Latin America and 18 million in India. Of course, now the numbers must have increased, and it is not possible to get the accurate number of street children, however, it is believed that the number might be over 150 million in the world.
Such street children are subjected to many violations and exploitations, like sexual assault, child abuse, trafficking, etc. To counter such atrocities, there have been many institutions set up and acts enacted both at the international as well as national level. So, why is the number of the street children increasing day by day even when there are so many institutions and acts, internationally and nationally? There may be many reasons for the continued deterioration of the street children, like the lack of Government support or due to social and economic conditions or for any other reason.
But, there’s one reason that not many have taken into account for the increasing number of street children, but, everyone knows that this is one the reasons and, i.e., the bystanders. How many of you have ever talked to or interacted with the street children? Not many, right? How many of you have glanced the other way when you see the condition of the street children while walking down the street? Haven’t you all?
Alright, not many of you might have ignored. You must have all stopped once or twice or thrice to give them a meal which you buy from a nearby stall or restaurant or to give them a nominal sum of money so that they can buy whatever they want. But, do you think that food you give will satisfy their hunger forever? How long do you think that money will last? One day? Two days? What after that meal is eaten? What after that money runs out? The street children will still be deprived of their basic necessities. They will continue to starve. Their rights will continue to be violated.
In such cases, they don’t need one-meal-a-day or money. What they need is care and protection till they can finally stand on their own. Because, when they run out of food or money, they will be desperate, and then, there are bound to be adverse actions on their part, which is, in turn, going to lead to the deterioration of the future of a country. After all these children are the future of our country and are going to be the ones who will be responsible for the continued existence of our country. But, if they end up walking down the wrong path, the future of our country will be bleak.
Now the question that arises is how do we help? Simple! Just pick up the phone call 1098 or 100. And inform. We as citizens can ensure the future of our country only through participation, by being active and by being empathetic. It is when we ignore that we add more to the continued deterioration of the street children. In this case, ignorance is not bliss. Remember folks, the problem of street children persists, but, we can counter this only when we are not mute bystanders can we ensure the future of our country.
 Childline – Children’s helpline contact, India
 Police Helpline contact, India
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vidhya Kumarswamy is a Law student pursuing B.B.A. LL.B. (Hons.), has a craving for knowledge and passionate about writing just as she’s a passionate foodie. Also, she’s a blogger and an Otaku.