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Sam Goes Walkies:
About Delhi Street Children

The trauma of being a street child

There are an estimated 18 million children living or working on the streets of urban India.
These children labour as porters at bus or railway terminals or employed as unskilled mechanics in auto repair shops or vending food, tea, handmade articles and even rag-picking through rubbish bags and selling unusable materials to local buyers.

Street children as the name itself suggests children for whom the street more than their family has become their real home, a situation in which there is no protection, supervision or direction from responsible adults.

Street children suffer from destitution, neglect, abuse and exploitation. The age composition of street children in India reveals that they are in the formative years of life. The majority of them (40%) belong to the age group of 11-15 years, followed by the age group of 6-10 years and these children make up to one third of the total street population!

The most disadvantaged of the street and working children in Delhi are the girls. They have not only to work to supplement their family income but also do the time consuming household chores such as collecting fuel, water, cooking and looking after siblings.

Identifying and locating street girls proves difficult at times as they usually gang up with the boys of their age group, dress like them as long as they can; but once they reach 10-11 years of age, the girls are taken off the streets by pimps and sold to the brothels. Unofficial estimates say India has 2 million prostitutes of whom 20% are below 15. Girls living on the streets are also known to suffer sexual abuse.

Street children are not able to access medical facilities from government hospitals and depend on several NGOs working for them including ActionAid India for treatment. Besides, they are routinely harassed by employers and even the police. Many a times, they are falsely implicated in cases of theft and sent off to the juvenile homes.

The children are even pushed into a life of crime, theft, prostitution and drug abuse. Even if local criminals do not directly exploit the child, he/she has to pay them a part of their earning and live in constant fear of abuse.

As part of Sam's trek, the first day will be spent in Delhi helping to rescue street children and giving them a fresh start in life. Please sponsor Sam on this trek to help to end child poverty.

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