Future plans of the street children

Table of Contents:

Every child has an ambition and a plan for the future. While most school going children will think about finishing school and going to college, street children have a different life to plan. According to Table 8.6, more than half of the street children plan on living in Delhi as they feel this is the only place where they will be able to get a proper earning. Since most of these children were born here or at least been in Delhi from a very young age,

Table 8.6 Future Plans of Street Children

Future Plan of Stay

Frequency

%

Will Stay in Delhi

316

52.7

Will Go Back Home

6

1

Depends on Job

112

18.7

Did Not Think

46

7.7

According to Family Decision

65

10.8

No Response

55

9.2

Total

600

100

Data Source: Primary survey.

they have been in their mind imprinted with the place and see Delhi as their home. Yet about 19 per cent of the street children are more concerned about their jobs and believe that they will go anywhere, wherever their job takes them. The youngest percentile of the children, of course, have not yet jotted out their course of life or believe that they will let their parents decide for their future, at least as of now.

Lessons from abroad

Coming up with a relevant model of rehabilitation programme for the street children is the need of the hour. Various NGOs implement their own style of helping the children, but every day the number of children coming to the street is increasing. To come up with a good strategy, it is important to learn from the experiences of others. Almost every country in the world has to deal with the issue of street children, and every country has taken up different strategies to tackle them. Some of these strategies could have proven to be successful, while some may not have been; however, the latter could serve as a good lesson. The nature of street children varies across the country, yet the governments and organizations are working towards a common goal, which is to ensure that the children are protected and are taken care of, in line with the principles laid down by the UN Convention of the Rights of the Children. Since the issue of street children is born from a larger social problem of poverty and child exploitation, the intervention needed for these children have to be taken up from different levels, that is, individual (child), family, school, community and the State. The agencies working can be NGOs, civil societies and the government, but the best result is when all these agencies work hand in hand. We have discussed below some of the pronounced models of rehabilitation programmes that have been successfully implemented and impressively impacted the street children in various developing countries of the world.

Mexico

In Puebla, Mexico, the Fundacion Junto con los Ninos (JUCONI) was set up on the principles of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, with the aim of improving the lives of street children. It targeted three categories of street children, namely, street living children, street-working children and market-working children. The programme was developed with the view of helping the children find solutions by accessing their Rights (Aptekar & Stoecklin, 2013). It is a comprehensive model that aims to be interventional at individual, family and community level and allowed for the children’s involvement in the solution process. The model works on a step- by-step process whereby initial attention is given to making initial contact with the individual, followed by an intensive change and follow-up service.

The first step, known as ‘operation friendship,’ calls for regular and intensive contact to be made with the street children. Various recreational activities are conducted which teach and prepare the children for a life away from the streets. In the second step, emphasis is laid on family and social reintegration. According to each child’s needs and potential, focus is given to strengthen their capacities by informal/formal schooling, recreational activities and life skill development. Academic learning blocs are developed for each child. For the children working on the streets, day care centres are placed near the market areas, where they can take part in group activities. Children who are living on the streets are assisted in reuniting with their family, and those who do not have a family can be hosted in transitional homes. This step also places importance to counselling and providing other services to the families of the street children, which will eventually help the child (Benitez, 2001; Volpi, 2002; Aptekar 8c Stoecklin, 2013). In the third stage, the children who have gone through the first two steps are followed up by the programme educators either at their home or work place. In order to sustain the reintegration, these children and their families are provided with counselling services up to three to five years. As a preventive approach, the JUCONI model emphasizes on the siblings of street children and to find ways to keep the younger children from following in the footsteps of the elder siblings who have become street children (Volpi, 2002; Aptekar 8c Stoecklin, 2013).

The programme model has been commended by the UNESCO in 1994 as the most innovative and promising programme of its kind. Learning from its success in Mexico, Guayaquil, Ecuador replicated this model.

 
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