Children today are caught up in the negative externalities of globalisation. Hundreds of children sever bonds with their families, move to cities and finally end up on the streets. The largest numbers come to Vijayawada, on transit into the cities of Hyderabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Bombay and Delhi.

These boys and girls are vulnerable and often fall prey to ruthless middlemen, brokers, child abusers and traffickers, drug peddlers, substance abusers, porters, police, rickshaw pullers, auto drivers and street addicted adults. The city has very little resources and time for them. They eke out their living by rag picking, shoe polishing, working as underpaid labourers and as domestic help. Young girls are drawn into prostitution. They suffer from diseases, wounds that fester, and even from STD/HIV. They are malnourished, ill-clothed and have no friends to turn to.  

27 new children land up each day at the railway station alone, adding to the hundreds of children already on the streets of Vijayawada. Caught up in the negative externalities of globalisation, hundreds of children sever bonds with their families, move to cities and finally end up on the streets. The largest numbers come to Vijayawada, on transit into the cities of Hyderabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Bombay and Delhi. Some stay on in Vijayawada; most move on. Invariably, they all come back to Vijayawada, at least once in a way.

These boys and girls are vulnerable and often fall prey to ruthless middlemen, brokers, child abusers and traffickers, drug peddlers, substance abusers, porters, police, rickshaw pullers, auto drivers and street addicted adults. The city has very little resources and time for them. They eke out their living by rag picking, shoe polishing, working as underpaid labourers and as domestic help. Young girls are drawn into prostitution. They suffer from diseases, wounds that fester, and even from STD/HIV. They are malnourished, ill-clothed and have no friends to turn to.

This is the situation that NBB wants to address both in Vijayawada and in the fast growing cities and municipalities of AP. The number of the young at risk is rising at a rapid pace since more of rural AP is caught up in the vortex of change and its undesirable fall-outs that affect the weakest communities.



Children at risk:

Children have various reasons for leaving home. They may do so because of parental abuse, neglect or alcoholism, abuse by a close relative, abuse at work, due to broken families or peer pressure, because they are orphans or differently-abled and hence abandoned, because of emotional problems or to escape marriage.

Most of these children belong to the socially-politically-economically excluded/marginalized communities/families.  Some of them are even disowned by families or do not want to go back to respective families for various reasons.

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STREET YOUTH

A recent survey in October 2010 by Navajeevan Bala Bhavan, in collaboration with 6 other NGOs, reveals that an average of 16 new children (480 per month – 5760 per year) land up each day at the Vijayawada railway station alone, adding up to hundreds of children already on the streets of Vijayawada

During 2010-11, a total of 3,340 children (3070 boys & 270 girls) were rescued or weaned away from street life. Out of these, 2675 children (80%) were rescued by our ‘Street Presence Team’ alone.

 

WORKING CHILDREN

As per Chandana Khan, Principal Secretary, School Education, there are at least 13.60 lakh children aged between 5-14 years are working as child labourers in the state of Andhra Pradesh.  Besides, the number of girl child labourers is higher (7,25,456) than that of boys (6,37,883).

Autonagar, Vijayawada (where BVK operates) is one of the biggest automobile estates in the country. In just 275 acres of land , the estate had 4,880 units , comprising of automobile service centres, re-boring, mechanical shops, blacksmiths, tinkering, fuel injection calibrates, carpentry, auto electrician, etc. These apart, there are other units of rubber slippers manufacturing, steel polishing, way-side tea stalls and other shops catering to the needs of the work force.

 

- ORPHANS

Orphans here mean children who do not have both parents or whose parents may have deserted them and such children who do not have any other guardian to take proper care of them & child who has one parent and who is not in a position to look after the child and the child has been grossly neglected or such parent is mentally ill /severely disabled or terminally ill with HIV/AIDS & child victims of trafficking who are rejected by their families or have unsafe families (parents or family involved in trafficking themselves)


- CHILDREN AFFECTED WITH HIV/AIDS

There are a significant number of families living with AIDS in and around Vijayawada. These affected children are often neglected and denied the right to education and adequate health care.

Many of the street children are susceptible to getting infected on the streets and have no knowledge of sexual health care.

 

 - MARGINALISED GIRL CHILD

The population of the country as per the provisional figures of Census 2011 is 1210.19 million of which 623.72 million (51.54%) are males and 586.46 million (48.46%) are females. This shows a terrifying decline in the child sex ratio and the fact that India has many missing girl children. Apart from being victims of female feticide and female infanticide; girls tend to be victims to abuse, forced labour, child marriage and gender discrimination. Once girl children are on the street, they have to face more difficulties than boys and are easily exploited.  They may be recruited to do domestic work (the number of girl child labourers is higher than that of boys) or are picked up by the brokers and forced into the commercial sex industry.  Some of them end up with early unwanted and high-risk pregnancies, and often, get infected by HIV and other STIs and are severely anaemic.

 

- CHILDREN ADDICTED TO DRUGS

A startling survey by Navajeevan’s Street Educator’s team has revealed that more than 40% of children living on the streets are addicted to one form or the other of drug-related substances.


- TRAFFICKED CHILDREN

   Rescue operations of trafficked children from Vijayawada railway station by Navajeevan Street Presence team in collaboration with Childline and experience of other NGOs directly involved in Anti-Trafficking measures highlight fact that Vijayawada is gradually becoming one of the transit points in the country for human trafficking.

 

Copyright 2010. Navajeevan Bala Bhavan-Vijayawada.