Streetkids in Pune, India - Ashraya Initiative for Children
The Ashraya Initiative for Children. For more information, visit http://www.ashrayainitiative.org
Originally uploaded by:
Streetkids in Pune, India - Ashraya Initiative for Children
The Ashraya Initiative for Children. For more information, visit http://www.ashrayainitiative.org
Originally uploaded by:
A movie’ing experience for street kids
31 Oct 2007, 0021 hrs IST,TNN
AHMEDABAD: "Aaj mujhe bahut majaa aaya.. peheli baar, mere saare dost ke saath maine picture dekhi," said little Sarfaraz after watching Chak De India with 350 other children. In fact, he could not remember the last time he had seen a film in a movie theatre!
The movie experience was indeed what it was meant to be - A Movie’ing Experience - one of the many initiatives started by ‘aProCh’ (A Protagonist in every Child), a city organisation working toward making Ahmedabad a child friendly city.
Veena Purohit, owner of City Pulse Multiplex said: "We are very happy to open up our spaces for the children who don’t get such experiences - and City Pulse is pleased to become a ‘friend of the child".
City Pulse not only sponsored the show for 350 children, but also has agreed to partner with ‘aProCh’ to show 150 underprivileged children a movie every month!
| 30 de octubre de 2007, 03:56 AM
Three Bangladeshi street children walk along a street with bags full of goods salvaged from garbage in Dhaka, 30 October 2007. The spiraling growth of urban population, rural poverty, migration to urban centers, and unemployment are some of the causes for the rising number of street children in Bangladesh. AFP PHOTO/FARJANA KHAN GODHULY (Photo credit should read Farjana KHAN GODHULY/AFP/Getty Images)
Iran street children rights, human rights
Oct 30, 2007
Street children are homelesss childrenn who live on the street � in particular, those that are not taken care of by parentss or other adultss. Street children live in abandoned buildings, containers, automobiles, parkss, or on the street itself. Tehran the largest city of IRAN has one of the highest rates of drug usage in the country. In addition to its social and economic consequences, drug use is emerging as a major contributor to HIV infection and AIDS in recent years. Relatively high oil prices in the last few years have enabled Iran to more than $30 billion in foreign exchange reserves, but have not eased economic hardships such as high unemployment and inflation. The proportion of the economy devoted to financing pro Iranian Group outside the country apparently Lebanese Hizbolah or others due to the Wrong policies of the government in IRAN. This Money could be used for funding kinder garden, schools or other facilities for training purposes of IRANIAN children.
There are reportedly significant numbers of children, particularly Afghan but also Iranian, working as street vendors in Tehran and other cities and not attending school because their parents are not able to pay the expenses. Recently the government representatives told the UN Committee on the Rights of the Children that there were less than 60 thousand street children in the country. Tehran has reportedly opened several shelters for street children but more shelters needed to be provided to accommodate all street children, shortage of funds and lack of planning is the major obstacle to serve these children. The government’s report on the rights of the children claimed seven thousand street children had been resettled to date.
The high level of literacy in Iran is the sign of progress (between 1996-2000) and the measures that was taken by the State to increase school enrolment and lower dropout rates needs to be appreciated, but it remains concerned that not all children are enrolled in or graduate from primary school (high inflation in the recent years by almost 16%yearly, declining the income, unemployment, prevented the parents from sending their children to schools). Working children, children living on the streets and children without complete personal documents, particularly refugee children with bi-national parents, have reduced access to schools (recently Iranian parliament passed a law which prohibits undocumented children attending the schools or have to pay high tuition for them and it is concerned that many of these immigrants are living on day to day bases and do not have steady income to pay for their children to go to schools. It is also concerned that refugee children are currently only being enrolled in schools if their parents have registered with the authorities as mentioned, and that the enrolment of refugee children comes from the pocket of these parents. It is further concerned about well-documented information that a large number of Baha’i students were not admitted to school on the grounds of their religious affiliation.
The concerned about the large number of children living and/or working in the streets, particularly in urban centers such as Tehran, Isfahan, Mashad, and Shiraz. It regrets that the State party could not present studies on the extent and nature of the problem and is concerned that the centers known as "Khaneh Sabz", "Khaneh Shoush" and "Khaneh Reyhane" homes, which were established to assist these children, albeit in a limited capacity, have been closed down because of the lack of funding. It is equally concerned at reports of the round-up and arrest of Afghan children in the streets (government is concern about the safety of the children) despite the fact that they were registered with the authorities, and that as a "condition" for their release the authorities request that their parents register for repatriation.
It is reports that Tehran has 35,000 to 50,000 children forced by adults mostly parents or closed relative to live and beg on the street or to work as slave laborers in sweat shops. The death rate among street children is high, from 100 to 150 a month. The cause of their deaths varies from malnutrition to diseases brought on by unsanitary conditions and the government is helpless fighting these criminal activities. Also the adults who exploit the children often train them for criminal activities, including selling illegal drugs and alcohol or providing them to others for sexual activities.
Most of these street children who were rounded up from the streets of Tehran by the authorities, according to the head of Social Service in the Iranian capital�s town hall. The majority of these children had run away from their homes to escape social pressures (because the parents lost jobs, addicted to drugs or involved in illegal activities).
Lot of these children make it only to big cities (Mashad, Tehran, Isfahan, Tabriz) to end up in situations as poor as those that they left their homes. Typically, this type of children are in the age of 10 to 18 years old with many siblings and a mother who earns a living by washing clothes, cleaning homes for very low paid jobs (because they do not have any skills) sending heir children out to sell small goods or other products. Often abused within the family crises by family members or outside by strangers, increasing numbers of these children look elsewhere for support without any chances. With no papers or any other kind of documents and little money, they are easily transformed into street children and criminal activities.
It is recommended that The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran establish an independent entity accountable to parliament, such as an ombudsman, to monitor the observance of children’s rights. It will play a very important role in promoting a culture of respect for human rights in Iranian society and will achieve considerable progress in improving awareness of human rights issues among the general public Services should be also provided for children with special needs, aimed at integrating them into their families and society and developing their abilities to the fullest extent possible. Programs for vulnerable children should be aimed in particular at raising awareness of the problems of child abuse, drug abuse and exploitation, at returning street children to their families and at providing expert opinions concerning the best interests of the child to judges hearing divorce cases.
The prostitution of children also has surfaced as a matter of concern. In 2000, Iranian authorities closed down six brothels in Tehran and arrested 35 people, including some minors. Every day, an average of 45 Iranian girls (Mostly under 18) run away from home to escape poverty, abuse, and social imprisonment. Though some are picked up by the police and brought to welfare organizations, many falls into the hands of organized prostitution rings or drift into crime and the sex trade (they were transported to other countries such as UAE for rich Arabs or to Afghanistan and Pakistan to work as prostitutes; some simply disappear. Police in Tehran reportedly round up 90 runaway children every day in average, and as of September 2001, more than 900 girls and 700 boys (the age between 10-18) were reported to have fled their homes in Tehran. Often times, the young runaways are raped or even killed by criminal Gangs in Tehran. According to some recent reports, one young woman in Tehran is raped and murdered every 6 days, as criminals increasingly take advantage of runaways children.
More shelters needed to help these children to provide a place where the child can sleep and be fed. But it is not always easy to persuade the children to give up their previous existence. Street life is basic, harsh, and unpleasant. But the groups to which the children belong become substitute families and provide them with a basic level of comradeship and security. They do not adapt easily to the requirements of a more ordered and social environment. However the staff there are now loved and respected by the children.
We should come to the conclusion that:
Recognizing that all children have the right to health, shelter, and education, to an adequate standard of living and to freedom from violence and harassment, the growing number of street children worldwide and the squalid conditions in which these children are often forced to live, as we know:
That children are a particularly vulnerable section of society whose rights require special protection and that children living under especially difficult circumstances, such as street children, deserve special attention, protection and assistance from their families and communities and as part of national efforts and international cooperation among the civilized nations.
Iran’s daily "Dowran Emrooz"
The General Assembly of UN
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Street children remain a common sight in Greece
Posted : Sun, 28 Oct 2007 02:09:03 GMT
Author : DPA
Athens - Carrying a bag full of lighters, key chains and other trinkets, 11-year-old Marenella walks through the cafe-lined streets of Monastiraki Square in central Athens selling her wares. Rain or shine, Marenella can be seen touting her goods to locals and tourists in the hope of meeting the daily quota enforced by her mother who waits in the shadows nearby.
Two streets away, Iliana, 10, and her younger sister Christina roam from one table to another in a bid to sell flowers and tissues.
"I went to school today and I am sent out every afternoon to help bring in money. My sister is always with me and together we help support our younger brothers and sisters," says Iliana.
Iliana is one of thousands of children from Albania and other Balkan countries who are forced to beg or sell trinkets every day at cafes and restaurants across Athens and in other major Greek cities.
Until a few years ago, thousands of children were being smuggled into the country by trafficking gangs from the poorer northern neighbours to work the streets as beggars and prostitutes until a government crackdown.
"What we are seeing is that police and the government have cracked down on the networks of organized crime involving child-trafficking in recent years but we now have a new phenomenon of families from these countries coming in and exploiting the children by making them work the streets," said Arsis, director for the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, Nikos Gavalas.
According to Arsis, a non-governmental association which works closely with Hellenic Aid and Swiss-based Terres des Hommes to protect street children and to combat child labour and trafficking, up to 150,000 children of immigrants, refugees and Roma families are often forced into child labour in Greece.
The children, often as young as 3 or 4, normally work in the afternoon hours or on weekends with the consent of their parents after school has ended for the day.
"We try to come in contact with the children we see begging or working on the streets - gain their trust which could take months - and try to determine whether they are accompanied by a family member or go to school to establish if it is a trafficking case," said Elda, a sociologist with Arsis.
"If we believe that it is a trafficking case we go to the authorities. If the youngsters are indeed accompanied by their family, then we try to work with the parents to ensure that the children get off the streets and go to school."
"The parents know that we do not want children working in the streets, so it is not always possible to establish good relations with them," says Elda as she approaches a child trying to beg money off a tourist in Monastiraki.
For years, Greece faced international criticism for failing to tackle powerful trafficking rings, who also smuggle drugs and guns across the Balkans. Measures by non-governmental organizations and various governments reduced the phenomenon in recent years.
In 2006, Greece and Albania signed a bilateral agreement with the aim of protecting and assisting Albanian children trafficked in and to Greece, as well as trying to prevent the trafficking of children in Albania.
"What we are seeing is fewer cases of trafficked children but more and more cases of families from Albania, and just recently more from Romania and Bulgaria because of the opening of their borders, coming to Greece and forcing their children to work or beg," says Arsis director in Athens, Katerina Koutou.
Although Greek law stipulates that children under the age of 16 are not permitted to work, there is no proper legal framework in place that punishes parents of exploited children.
"The parents are taken to court and given a small fine but the court cannot prosecute them. They simply pay the fine off … what is it to them? Their children make it up by working just one day from morning to night," says Gavalas.
One million kids estimated to be living rough in Russia.
Love’s Bridge website
Uganda: True Vine Ministries Gives Street Children Lifeline
The Monitor (Kampala)
27 October 2007
Posted to the web 26 October 2007
John A. Emojong
At least 400 million people in rural areas will not be able to survive on US$1 a day, a survey by Hope for Kids International, a US based charity and Christian organisation has revealed.
The President and founder of Hope For Kids International, Mr Tom Eggun told Daily Monitor that currently, nearly half of the African population - almost 300 million people - live in extreme poverty, barely surviving on US$1 a day(Shs 1700).
According to the World Bank, this number is expected to increase to 400m people by 2015, Mr Eggun said.
He said many of the poverty stricken communities in Africa and Latin American states such as Cuba, Peru and Mexico among others, lack the basics of life such as food, clean water, shelter, healthcare and education. Another 44 million primary school age going children in Africa are not in school while more than 12 million are orphaned by HIV/Aids.
These numbers are bound to double by 2015 if no poverty eradication and HIV/Aids preventive measures are taken by the respective governments. Hope for Kids International is committed to providing relief to the global Aids crisis by delivering medicine to communities affected by poverty and disease," Mr Eggun said.
To fulfill their promise as well as implement some of their objectives, Hope for Kids has initiated a number of development projects in Uganda that provides support to over 960 orphans country-wide through True Vine Ministries. Some of the beneficiary districts are Tororo, Busia, Bugiri, Pallisa and Mbale.
In Tororo, the organisation has constructed a 32- bed hospital, a primary school and church for True Vine Ministries near Tororo Cement Industries in Osukuru Sub-county.
The organisation has also initiated a project to provide clean water by digging wells, drilling boreholes and protecting the existing ones.
One of the recent projects undertaken by the organisation was the rehabilitation and return of street children to school under a programme managed by Smile Africa Ministries, a Tororo based Christian Organisation.
The Executive Director, Smile Africa Ministries, Pastor Ruth Kawa said at least 293 children had been picked from the streets and rehabilitated before being sent back to school.
Pastor Kawa said the majority of those in school were enrolled in the boarding section at Industrial View Primary School in Tororo Municipality. Others have been taken to rural schools in an effort to prevent them from escaping from school.
Hope for Kids is supporting the kids with food supplies, mattresses, blankets, clothes, footwear, scholastic materials, mosquito nets and other school necessities.
The organisation is also involved in an emergency health programme where on the spot treatment for various ailments is given to destitute children are treated .
Over 3000 children from in and around Tororo Municipality have benefited from the programme.
Ms Patcy Morgan, a missionary from Arizona in the US, physically carried out the treatment of the kids. Mr Eggun said they have a future programme to build orphan cottages, a boarding school for orphaned and destitute children and a life-skills centre which would enable the poverty stricken community of Tororo and the other beneficiary districts to become self-reliant.
"Our Mission is to bring hope and necessary care to kids through dignity, health, joy and love," he said.
BLANTYRE, Malawi — They warned me about this.
They said to be careful, to not get too close, to not let "it" get to me, to not become overwhelmed or "too emotional."
After about three weeks of behaving myself and keeping my head and heart in check while traveling through east Africa, I did exactly what they said not to do.
I fell in love. Hopelessly, helplessly, achingly in love.
His name is Vasco. He’s 10. It was love at first sight on my part, though I can’t speak for the Malawian child who has broken my heart with his.
As he sat on my lap and leaned his narrow back into my chest, I could feel his heart thumping hard — much too hard for a boy who was sitting still and hadn’t been running around. Each beat of Vasco’s heart shook his slight body so intensely that I could see a bulge on the left side of his narrow chest moving under the shirt he wore, the one with the word "chisomo" on it.
At 10, he’s the size of an average American 6-year-old and weighs about half of what the suitcase I’ve been lugging around Africa does.
I met Vasco when his caseworker, Mac, from a philanthropy in Blantyre that works with the city’s many street children, took me to the outskirts of town to meet the little boy with the broken heart.
While we don’t yet know precisely what Vasco’s medical diagnosis is — basic health care for the very poor here is difficult at best, and treatment for specialized cases (such as pediatric cardiology) is even more so — Mac and Vasco’s aunt, Esme, said the little guy has an enlarged heart with a hole in it. Last week, a doctor in Blantyre said that, while more tests are being done, he thinks Vasco needs lifesaving surgery — and soon, according to Mac.
Vasco pants when he walks and sweats in the shade. He doesn’t complain and tries to keep up. He loves soccer but can only watch. He smiles a shy smile, but I got the feeling it was more for my benefit than anything else. Orphans like Vasco get used to having their picture taken and smiling for strangers in a strange land who might lift them out of poverty.
A few years ago, Vasco’s mother and father died of AIDS, and like so many children in this part of the world, he ended up living on the streets of Blantyre. That’s where someone found him and took him to the philanthropy that works with street children, sheltering and feeding them until they are able to place them with extended family.
After months of searching, when Mac found Vasco’s aunt and uncle, the boy went to live with them. They take good care of him with their limited resources.
When I visited the family, Vasco’s aunt brought out a manila envelope from her mud and wattle hut and handed it to me. Inside was a wrinkled X-ray of Vasco’s chest showing an enormous dark shadow where his oversize heart is. One of Vasco’s cousins showed me a plastic baggie with his daily medication, chalky white pills smaller than aspirin.
I only had a few days in Malawi and tried to do what I could to make sure Vasco saw a doctor immediately. But things move slowly in the developing world. And then there’s the problem of apathy and corruption.
When my husband and I told the director of the street children’s philanthropy about our grave concerns for Vasco, he dismissed them with an emotionless "there are many children with many needs, and we can only do so much."
Mind you, this was after the director had taken us to a church service (at the fast-growing congregation where he’s an elder) where, after four hours, the preacher hadn’t preached yet, but the collection plate had been passed three times. When an elder announced that the budget for an upcoming celebration of the pastor’s 50th birthday was $40,000 and asked people to give more, I felt sick to my stomach, got up and left.
There hadn’t been a word about the poor, the sick, or the orphans standing on the corner down the block. Just the gospel of prosperity, a bless-me club for Christians consumed with the search for personal holiness.
As I leapt out of the director’s fancy pickup truck back at our motel a half hour later, I basically begged him to make sure Vasco saw a doctor as soon as possible. He said, "I’ll try to see what can be done."
I wanted to slug him and then beat him with my Bible.
We stopped to see Vasco on our way to the airport and heard him yell, "I’m coming!" (in Chichewa, Malawi’s national language) from the hut where he sleeps.
"Don’t run!" Mac, my husband and I shouted in unison.
Vasco climbed into my lap, his rabbit heart thunk-thunking as he spoke softly, playing with my hands as I hugged his knobby knees.
I told him I loved him and kissed his head. I wanted to throw him in my carry-on bag and run. (He would have fit.) But I couldn’t do that. I had to leave him behind.
I’ve never felt so helpless in my life. I can’t fix his heart myself, but I can tell his story.
By the way, in Chichewa, "chisomo," the word on the T-shirt Vasco was wearing when we met, means "grace."
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