(March 2, 2012) – Sangia Express writer Urmila Chanam contemplated the misfortune and fate of street children in India. Her report focused on Shekhar, a 12 year old boy found at a Bangalore railway station by a Bosco Mane Bangalore worker.
Shekhar, she reports, was just five years old when he got lost at the very same rail station seven years earlier. He was traveling with his family to a wedding when they told him to wait in the train compartment while they went to get something to eat. Chanam recounts what happened next, “The train had started and Shekhar still recalls standing at the door of the train and looking out for his parents. In the last moment, out of fear of never finding them if he continued sitting in the train, Shekhar had plunged from a running train. He had waited for his parents on the platform. He still does.”
According to the report, with the assistance of the Bosco Mane Bangalore worker, Shekhar asked to find his family. Chanam recounts, “He told what little he knew about his village and also that he had an elder brother who worked in Pandavapura near Mandiya district. In just 24 hours the team reached his parents only to be told that Shekhar hadn’t got lost as he believed, he had been deserted. They didn’t want him then, they didn’t want him now.”
The news report went on to say that when Shekhar was unable to reunite with his family he was brought in front of the Child Welfare Committee under the Ministry of Women and Child Development. There he was categorized as a street child and assigned to the care of the State Children’s Home, the Bala Kana Bala Mandira till the time he finishes school and can stand on his own feet.
Chanam reports that through conversations with the Bosco Mane Bangalore workers she learned about the misfortune of many of the street children like Shekhar. She reports, “I learned that these children are deserted by parents and families at birth or later due to monetary constraints or gender discrimination; or they are runaways who fled from a home where there was violence against the mother due to drunkenness of the father, remarriage of the mother to the man she now lived with or other domestic strife.”
Bosco Mane Bangalore maintains a presence on the streets where they provide street counselors 24 hours a day seven days a week at contact points in the city like railways and bus stations. They offer constant support to street children by preventing and protecting them from exploiters through guidance and rehabilitation. In addition, the organization offers counseling, home placement, vocational education and job placement as well as many other services.
In her report, Chanam praises the work of Bosco Mane Bangalore and the important role they play in helping street children in India while encouraging the government in India, Bosco and other NGOs and CBOs to strengthen their advocacy work in this arena.
“I wish each mother came forward to support this cause to rehabilitate children on the street, I wish they marched along with organizations like BOSCO, APSA, ECHO, REDS, Paraspara and others, to help provide for them for a better education and other needs.” Chanam reports, “I wish we begin to see in these nameless faces our own children. I wish we did our part to help these motherless children to go on ahead and one day, equipped with education, become parents themselves and find the joy of a family once again.”
Go to the original The Sangia Express news article: O Sweet Child O Mine