Cultural shows, trips, campaigns mark Children’s Day celebrations:
Cultural programmes were held in
several schools, NGOs took street children on a trip to the zoo and
distributed warm clothes to brave the winter chill - Children’s Day
was celebrated in a variety of ways in ....
On Bangalore’s bustling M.G.
Road, located in the heart of the city, Raghu swiftly crosses from
one corner of the road to another as he tries hard to sell magazines
and newspapers to motorists and pedestrians during regular traffic
Ask the 13-year-old how he’s going to spend Children’s Day,
celebrated across the country Saturday, Raghu, a native of Gaya from
Bihar, who has literally made Bangalore streets his home, smiles
Children’s Day? It’s just another day of work for me. If I don’t
sell magazines and newspapers, I won’t be able to have my day’s
meals,” Raghu, who came to Bangalore after he left his home in Gaya
three years back, told IANS.
about Children’s Day some years back. Every year Nov 14 - marking
the birth anniversary of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal
Nehru - is celebrated as Children’s Day. But, for poor children like
me, we have nothing to celebrate,” he added.
from Raghu, nine-year-old Kamala begs on Brigade Road, the city’s
favourite shopping destination.
“I am a
beggar. Begging is my job. I beg everyday on Brigade Road. Sorry! I
have no idea about Children’s Day,” smiles Kamala, as she quickly
joins a group of five child beggars on the road.
10-year-old friend Lakshmi too is oblivious about the ’special’ day
dedicated to children across the country.
know anything about Children’s Day,” says the shy girl with a
begging bowl in her hands.
to experts working in the field of child rights, in recent times the
number of street children in Bangalore has increased manifold.
figure or percentage of street children in Bangalore is hard to
provide as the number fluctuates. But due to the increase in the gap
between rich and poor in the city, we can easily say that the
numbers have increased hugely in recent times,” said Vishal Talreja,
founder member of Bangalore’s Dream A Dream, an organisation working
for underprivileged children.
the street children are either engaged in begging, rag picking or
selling newspapers and petty goods on the roads. Street children of
Bangalore form the major chunk of child labourers in the city,”
that in spite of so many laws drafted by the government to help
underprivileged children from not falling prey to child labour, yet
a large number of them are bereft of normal childhood and are forced
to work to earn their livelihood,” said V. Susheela, convener of
Karnataka chapter of Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL), a
nationwide network to eliminate child labour.
to Census 2001, there were 12.7 million working children in India
(age group five to 14 years), with the state of Uttar Pradesh
recording the highest numbers at 1.93 million, closely followed by
Andhra Pradesh at 1.36 million. Karnataka has recorded 0.82 million
child labourers, making it the seventh highest state with child
labourers - following Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West
child rights’ activists say India currently has around 50 million