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Street Kids

Need More Collective Efforts To Protect In Crisis

 Need More Collective Efforts To Protect In Crisis
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Jahangir Nakir :
According to UNICEF, the children who live on the road or have livelihoods in the street, are called street children. There are different opinions on the number of street children. In 2004, BIDS survey said, this number will reach 16 hundred thousand in 2024. But who are actually the street children now? If the children who are on the pathways, playing, sleeping and living, are street children, what is their number? The mentioned study apparently has become very old. It is very important to have a new realistic. So, if the actual number of street children is not known now, it would be far-fetched to create practical plans for street children program activities.
According to National Child Policy 2011, section 6.2.3, in order to ensure the rehabilitation and holistic development of all the disadvantaged street children, social security forces should be expanded. Under sub-section (1) of the International Children's Rights Act 20, "All children, who are suffering from permanent deprivation of interest in the family environment, are entitled to special protection and assistance from the State."  The collective initiative has become very important for GO-NGO to establish the rights of their physical, mental and moral development, education, livelihood, and to build their self-sufficiency in future.
In the inauguration of Children's Rights Week 2015 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given clear instructions to the concerned ministry on the rehabilitation of street children. She said, "Why should our children wander in the streets? Not even a single child will roam around the streets. No child will live miserable life like this. Based on this guidance, the MoWCA has taken initiatives in 2016, the programs on rehabilitation of street children were started.
Long-term rehabilitation, initiatives were taken for comprehensive plans with the representatives of GoB-NGO. Here are some proposals for taking and implementing these plans:
What are the public and private sector programs for street children? Everyone needs to know who works for these and who is doing what? There must be a helpful information book about this. When the street-children related organizations are completing their own service, then due to the partial service, they are returning to the previous life. Therefore, there should be an information booklet where information about "Where are the vulnerable children in the whole country, their contact details, capacities etc. will be given in detail so that everyone can be able to assist the children.
There are various public private shelter homes in Bangladesh for underprivileged and street children. These shelter homes should be conducted according to the provision of child rights or protection of children. A quality guideline can be made. As well as following the guidelines, shelter homes can be managed by a monitoring cell to see whether there is a networked representative led by Child Department.
Widespread publicity will be organized on the sources of street children. Organizing national awareness building can take massive action by including the local administration and the local government. No child will stay in the street during school hours. There will be a special incentive program with comprehensive public awareness on this issue.
Now more organizations are working than the need. Their inefficiency and unawareness are the "deficit". It is necessary to know about child rights and protection, including special skills for working with children, special skills for child care. To increase the capability of organizations, budget proposals including project proposals, creating child-friendly work environment, development of case management system, and training of peer education, child database creation, counseling and child training support can be given.
The underprivileged children grow up in many adversities. Generally speaking the behavior of street children is - lying, being excessive emotional, affecting others with their own needs, not hesitating to crime,  not easily being convinced by anyone, being prone to destructive work, being negative, indulging in open-minded life, not easily abiding by anyone. Psychological help is very important to bring the positive career in their mentality.
Special entertaining teaching methods for street children must be ensured. By introducing non-formal short-term education for older children, timely professional vocational training can be made. Employment will be arranged for them after training them on various trades
The majority of street children somehow or other get introduced to drugs. These children give up good future because of drug addiction. Therefore, these children will have free treatment facilities for drug addiction in each service center.
The identity and address of street children are not available in many cases. Sometimes the children cannot even say the names of their parents. In that case, the birth registration of each child is not possible due to complications. As a result, these children are deprived of civil benefits in future.
Currently, the whole world is facing crisis for COVID-19 and people are suffering the most. The number of infected persons is increasing in Bangladesh. To overcome the danger our government has taken all necessary steps instructed by World Health Organization. However, from the observation of Street Children Activists Network Bangladesh, it is seen that the street children are deprived of most of the steps taken by government. Our government is capable enough to support all the vulnerable children and ensure a safe and secure environment for them now.
Finally, there is need for collective initiatives, active participation and realistic plans for all the disadvantaged and street children's welfare. Also it is impossible to ensure public health safety keeping the street children under the threat of COVID-19. So we should work hand and hand to fight against the Coronavirus crisis and protect the children.
The children are the future of the nation. 40% of the total population of the country is children among them 15% .of disadvantaged children which are large part of severely underserved. When the child development of children is incomplete and disrupted, the nation will receive untalented leadership. Recent Budget has declared a separate child directorate for the benefit of children. It's long time for our expectation for planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and coordination of countrywide activities.

(Jahangir Nakir is Asstt Director, Dhaka Ahsania Mission and President, Street Children Activists Network. Email: jahangirsrg@gmail.com )

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