A RAY OF HOPE FOR CHILDREN IN STREET SITUATIONS - MAKING #THEINVISIBLES VISIBLE
Around 2 million children live on the streets of India, away from opportunities of learning and access to healthcare and prone to various forms of abuse. Most of these children lack an identity. These statistics narrate the story of the sorry situation of street-connected children:
- 79% of them do not have a legal identity document
- 1 out of 4 children on the street sleeps hungry at least once every week
- 70% street connected children are involved in child labour
- Every 3rd child has faced abuse
- 63% children on the streets cannot read or write
- 37% of street connected children sleep on the pavements
There has been signifocant change for street connected children already with support Government, bureaucrats, donors and the public. Thouasads of street connected children have secured legal identity which has helped them access essential governments services and programmes. . In 2018, Save the Children launched the project ’Making The Invisibles Visibles’. Our mission is to provide identity to 20 lakh street children in 4 states of India – UP, New Delhi, Maharashtra and West Bengal by 2020 and link 70% of them to education or a social protection scheme.
In our journey with and for street connected children, we have received support from Dia Mirza, Sourav Ganguly, Mithali Raj, Soha Ali Khan and Rajasthan Royals for the first ever Street Child Cricket World cup to help amplify the cause of street connected children.
44,808 LIVES CHANGED TILL DATE AND WE'RE DETERMINED TO DO MORE
Our programme is being implemented in 4 States and 10 Districts:
Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal - Delhi, Agra, Allahabad, Kanpur, Lucknow and Mughalsarai in UP, Mumbai, Pune and Nasik in Maharashtra and Kolkata in West Bengal.
children have been enrolled for Aadhar and with other legal identity documents such as Birth Certificate, PAN Card, certificate from MP/MLA/Councillor, certificate from Educational Institution and others.
children have been linked with various government social protection schemes and services such as schools, Anganwadi Centres, Health Centres, vocational training and opening of bank accounts.
STORIES OF CHANGE
Manisha Kamble – From living under the flyover to rallying for children’s rights at UN headquarters
Manisha has been living under various flyovers and on footpaths for the past twelve years. Earlier, they lived in a small slum but were evicted because of a new building constructions in the city. There are no sanitation facilities near where they live. Manisha is instead forced to walk for nearly fifteen minutes to a municipal toilet, where she is charged to use it. They cannot change their clothes where they live, due to there being no form of privacy.
Manisha currently lives under a flyover at near Elphinstone Road station. They do not have a home or roof under their heads, and are exposed to huge amounts of noise, pollution, and vehicular exhaust at all hours of the day and night due to a steady stream of traffic under the flyover. The toxic gases make the eyes burn and aggravate Manisha’s allergies, causing difficulty in breathing, a severe lack of sleep, and a low immune system. This is the same reason her father passed away two years ago.
It is difficult for Manisha to study because of the noise, and the fact that her books are often taken away during Municipal Corporation raids, or lost during the floods which affect Mumbai.
Manisha has suffered from dehydration, diarrhoea, and malaria in the recent past. She was put on a saline drip for quite some time, and once had to take a long break from school due to her sickness.
Despite these challenges, Manisha has made it to her 12th standard without any drops in school, which is a testament to her dedication to education. Given her situation, making it to the 12th grade is truly an achievement. She is currently studying in the banking stream, which is not easy. Yet, she perseveres and studies as much as possible during the day, since there is no electricity in the nights.
Manisha is a leader in her community of children living on the streets. Her large portfolio of work speaks for itself, with work on Right to Food for children living on the streets to being the Manager of the CDK, a children led bank.
She saves money so that she can use it for household purposes. The CDK has also helped her understanding banking further, especially as this is her chosen field of study.
She has been associated with Save the Children and Hamara Foundation (local NGO) for a few years now. She is active in her children’s group and a leader in her community, through her advocacy efforts with the Mayor of Mumbai, Ministers from leading political parties like Pankaja Munde, public figures like Dia Mirza, she has been able to represent her community at the local and national level.
Recently Manisha was a speaker at the prestigious Womenation Summit hosted by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for working women breaking the glass ceilieng and her speech was about her life and how she is breaking barriers for children living in street situations. She has also been interviewed by Dia Mirza on a live Twitter Blue Room where she said, “We need people to acknowledge us, children who live on the streets also have dreams that they want to share, they want to connect with people, and that is a chance that everyone deserves.” Manisha is an Ashoka Youth Venturer and her social work is mainly to provide access to education and food for children who live on the streets.
Platforms where Manisha has advocated for the children's issues:
Delhi's Own Gully Boy Sumit Raps his Way to Amitabh Bachchan-supported 'Banega Swachh India 2019' Campaign
- WINGS 2018: Manisha spoke about safety of girls, bringing in the perspective of someone who lives on the street with government representatives like Pankaja Munde at the launch of WINGS 2018 by Save the Children.
- International Street Children Day: Manisha led a delegation of children to the Mayor of Mumbai at the beginning of the project run by Save the Children on providing identity to children who live on the street.
- Public Engagement: Manisha met with Dia Mirza, actor and artist ambassador for Save the Children in a Blue Room Session, live on twitter talking about the rights of street children.
- Joining Forces: Manisha travelled to New York for the launch of ‘Child Rights Now: An Unfinished Agenda’ report of the Joining Forces global alliance. There she was representing India talking about her life and struggles on the street, and the importance of legal identity.
- TEDxVersova: Manisha will be speaking at TEDxVersova this month about her life and her struggles to ensure that she has a bright future.
The young 14 year old Sumit lives in Bhanwar Singh Camp slum of Vasant Vihar (New Delhi) with his family since last 25 years. He wants to become a rapper like his ideal “Ekka Ankit Singh”. He has been doing it for last 4 years and has customized his rap songs around key issues of Sanitaton, Child Abuse, Child Protection and Patriotism. He considers that Rap is something very new to the community hence everyone enjoy his rap songs involving key messages.
Sumit is also being guided by Save the Children field staff by regular interaction and sessions during CCHHC group meeting. He motivates people of his community to use dustbin for proper dispose of household garbage & use for toilet through rap songs. His efforts of are making him a true role model and a real agent of change for his community.
Majority of people in his society are migrated from nearby states with their traditional mindset and are not well aware about the importance of WASH in their life. The issues like open defection, absence of hand washing at critical times, no use of dustbins and lack of proper drainage are very common in the area.
Rapping is an innovative tool for raising awareness in the society and being quite new to the society everyone is loving it. It could be one of the most influencing tools to bring change in the society. He has been using the same method for raising awareness especially on the issues like Child rights, importance of using toilets and hand washing and other WASH related issues. He is keen to bring about turning society more humane and considerate.
The connection with the audience is very direct and attracts the crowd that gives you an opportunity to reach the masses. The feedback is immediate with the audience replying with laughter or applause. Important issues like using toilets, handwashing and Safe drinking water can be highlighted through this art form.
Sumit has performed at the Global Partnership Forum by the Government of India official side event, India Day and recent #Vote4Children event in collaboration with Twitter India and Youth Ki Awaaz. It was a dream come true for Sumit when his rapped at the stage of Banega Swachh India launch by NDTV, sharing the platform with legendary Amitabh Bachchan and his icon Naezy the rapper.