REHABILITATION OF STREET CHILDREN IN INDIA

  1. Introduction

The issue of street children has become a major topic of study in the world. Children go to the streets because of unstable families among other elements that make their life hard to live. Such families are characterized by alcoholism, low incomes, substance abuse, divorce and separation, weak relationships, and death of parents (Mathur, 2009). These children face challenges such as inadequate access to early childhood education, cleaning drinking water, food, clothing, and proper medical care. The children engage in small chores such as working in hotels, vending newspapers, washing cars where they are underpaid and mistreated (Britto and Super, 2013). Therefore, such children are vulnerable to ailments such as waterborne disease, HIV, and psychological distress. India is one of the countries faced with the challenge of street children who account for 18 million mostly in Kolkata and Bombay cities. Therefore, this project proposal seeks to establish the plan for rehabilitating 1,000,000 street children in India through sustainable programs such as early childhood education, early, and proper nutrition for a period of two years (Mathur, 2009). The project is thereby described. It covers the objectives and justification supported by literature review. The members of the project are also explained. Also included is the timeframe, the place, the actual plan for the project, the pricing, and the project sustainability.

2.0 Rationale and Objectives

The establishment of the two rehabilitation centres will decongest the two cities of India of the street children. Therefore, the projects will assist in the provision of basic services like early childhood education, clean food and water, and proper clothing to the children. Such projects create employment opportunities to the communities involved. They will have long-term positive economic and social effects on the lives of children through social inclusion (Arnett, 2014).

2.1 Description of the project

India has faced the problem of street children for a long time and the government’s efforts to address the issue have not yielded much result (Mathur and Mathur, 2009). Most children are still wallowing in abject poverty; hence this has led to the need for this project to rehabilitate a substantial number of these children. Therefore, two rehabilitation centres are to be constructed in Kolkata and Bombay cities of India that currently host many street children. The two centres are to have classrooms, libraries, stationery, casual clothing and uniforms, furniture and fittings, kitchens, dining halls, playing fields, dormitories, and special rooms for healthcare workers (Mathur, 2009). The two centres are to be constructed at an estimated cost of $1,000,000 for a period of 2 years. They are expected to provide employment opportunities to the teachers, cateresses, and healthcare workers of the surrounding communities.

2.2 Aims and Objectives of the Project

Sen (2009) argues that to achieve sustainable programs for the street children in India projects are needed by well-wishers to address the following issues that are affecting the street children in the two cities of India.

  1. To reduce the number of vulnerable children from the streets of India.
  2. To ensure such children have access to early childhood education.
  3. To enhance proper clothing, nutrition, and healthcare for the children.
  4. To reduce the rate of drug and substance abuse among the children.
  5. To easy the government the burden of the street children.
  6. To reduce child labour in the streets of India.
  7. To create employment opportunities to the locals of the two cities.

2.3 Rationale for the Project

The demand for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in India is ever raising, due to low maternal and child mortality rates (Britto and Super, 2013). As a result of the ECCE programs offered by different bodies have been under private management as there are no laws to control their activities. Percy-Smith and Thomas (2009) claim that children’s’ rights have been advanced by The National Indian Child Care Association, Amrit Foundation of India, and international organizations like the UNICEF. This has forced the Indian government to establish laws for ECCE and the associated appropriate standards to address the ECCE needs of the children. But still the number of street children remains a challenge. Therefore, this project is intended to fill the gap left by the government in rehabilitating a large number of children who are still suffering in the streets. Khwairakpam and Sukhminder (2013) argue that the street children are not properly protected. Such children do not have access to early childhood education and their needs are not well taken care of by any responsible individuals (Mathur and Mathur, 2009). Therefore, there is need to transform the lives of the young children through the rehabilitation centres so that they can have access to basic education, better healthcare, and food.

            In India over 18million children work on the streets particularly in Kolkata and Bombay cities. Mathur (2009) claims that the children are vulnerable to diseases, lack of clean drinking water, shortage of proper clothing, inadequate food, and lack of other social protection services from the government. Thus, the project is intended to host children from hostile families and those who lack proper social protection so that they can benefit from the basic needs to be provided in the centres.

Narayan (2013) argues that family problems such as alcoholism, poor parent relationships, divorce or separation of parents, parents’ violence, or death of a parent are the most prevalent reasons why children resort to the streets. These street children mostly come from poor housing conditions characterized by high levels of illiteracy, drug abuse, and lack of employment (Praharaj and Arora, 2008).Thus, the projects will transform the lives of the children so that they can change behaviour through psychological counselling and funded learning.

Most of the children are employed by hotels, tea shops, canteens, restaurants, and eating points (Sharma and Lal, 2011). These businessmen exploit them like prisoners with low pay, sometimes with no pay, and abuses (Mathur, 2009).Because of these, some of the children have resorted to self-employment or doing multiple jobs such as collection of recyclable products such as metals, plastics, and papers. Other chores include newspaper vending, selling sweets, car cleaning, shoe shining, working in building places, small hotels, and repair shops. The older ones are involved in drug-trafficking, stealing and pick-pocketing, and sexual activities (Sharma and Lal, 2011). Therefore, this project will host the children in controlled and monitored rehabilitation centres to reduce child labour and risks of sexual activities among the young children.

Cleghorn and Prochner (2010) assert that in India the street children are highly vulnerable to low incomes since they do not enjoy the monetary and psychological support that other children have. Thus, they develop ways to deal with the harsh conditions that they thrive in (de Benítez, 2007). Such children adopt strategies such as taking alcohol, drug usage, and prostitution (Gaidhane et al., 2008). Therefore, this project will assist the children to stop drug abuse and address the life frustrations that the street children undergo because of lack of social protection services.

According to Woan and Auerswald (2013), the street children suffer food shortage since they do not have access to proper medical care, sanitation, and nutritious foods. They depend on food leftovers from hotels, garbage bins, or food stalls. Bathing in the open air is the order of the day among the children in India. They remain naked for long times after bathing, therefore, losing modesty senses. Irvine and Schroth (2011) assert that the children lack clean washrooms and therefore they resort to using the roadside as part of toilets. Hence, this project will ensure the provision of clean food, water, washrooms and toilets so that to prevent the emergence of waterborne diseases.

Embleton et al. (2013) argue that the street children are in most times faced with extortion and abuse since they do not have social belonging and individuals who can provide protection to them. Many children complain of police beating and forcing them to share the little pay they earn from the hard construction sites. Sen (2009) asserts that various forms of abuse include physical abuse, sexual abuse, healthy abuse, psychological abuse, and verbal abuse. Psychological and verbal abuses are the most prevalent among the children and those who receive substantial incomes are abused more (Towe and Sherman, 2009). Hence, the project intends to address the psychological trauma experienced by the children in the streets.

There have been issues with the education of the street child (Hart, 2013). On the other hand Jambunathan and Caulfield (2008) argue that a study that was carried out in Bombay in 2004 on the education of street children revealed worrying trends. The survey found out that 60 percent of the children had never stepped into a school compound and two-thirds of them were totally illiterate.30% had attended elementary school and 10% intermediate or high school. Most of the children in the study said they ran from their homes because they were forced to attend school or work to assist their parents (Towe and Sherman, 2009). Therefore, the study seeks to absorb all the 1,000,000 street children into educational programs so that they can grow to be responsible members of society.

2.4.0 Ethical and Political Early Childhood Education Development Practice

2.4.1 Ethical

The teachers to be employed in the two learning centers need the support of education stakeholders so that they can recognize the children who are disabled and understand complex impediments to their learning and participation. The professional help in this pedagogy of inclusion ought to involve an on-going reflection on the thinking and practices of teachers. Moss et al. (2009) advocates for transformative pedagogies focused on ethical commitment to resist discrimination and inequalities. Hence, the teachers should develop an open, listening, positive orientation, and embrace the cultural backgrounds of such children to achieve the objectives of the projects.

For the two plans to accomplish the stated goals there is need to practice social justice in the early childhood education. According to Mevawalla (2013), the recognition justice involves appreciating the values, languages, social, and cultural backgrounds of the communities around the schools. The redistributive sentence consists of the distribution and redistribution of resources equitably. In education, it involves the shifting of resources and funds to realize equal access and participation in gaining high quality and available early knowledge for all the children. Therefore, the projects seek to access the funds to accomplish this objective as well as take care of these diversities and also ensure a clean environment within the two cities.

 The teachers of the projects will be required to create environments and conditions for learning that enable participation of all the children. They will make observations by gathering information around the skills, talents, and interests of the children to nurture them well. Such information will be used to form a basis for creating shared experiences with the children. Then the teachers will develop participatory activities for the children according to the skills identified. Therefore, this ensures the full attainment of the well-being of the children such as self-esteem, control of their lives, satisfaction, and happiness (Thoits and Hewit, 2001).

2.4.2 Political

According to Naughton and Davis (2009), street children in India are both whites and non-whites. The white children can stand above racism. There is also the belief that whites are the center of knowledge and humanity. Most governments tend to empower the indigenous people to achieve self-determination and representation through decolonization. The project aims to rehabilitate all the vulnerable street children regardless of their racial backgrounds.

Darder (2018) argues that the learning experiences that are transformative are those that try to; abolish deficit thinking, assist teachers to appreciate the political and social nature of schooling, lead to teaching that recognizes social justice, equity, and diversity. The management of the two projects will not allow the oppression of children in the course of their transformative programs. Hence, this will ensure the achievement of the targeted objectives.

Intercultural and social justice education should be the ultimate objectives of such projects (Campbell, 2014). The two projects will respond in transformative ways to deal with the marginalization of some groups as ‘others’ and privileging the already ‘privileged’ as deserving of their status. There will be equality and social justice in the teaching of the children to realize intercultural education. Therefore, this will help in addressing issues of classism, racism, linguicism, and sexism among the children under rehabilitation.

2.4.3 Ethical and Political Practice

The project is intended to embrace all the white and non-white street children from diverse backgrounds and achieve social justice in education (De Benítez, 2007). There will be the appointment of student leaders from the different cultural diversities and minority ethnicities of the children who will guide in the recognition and celebration of the diverse cultural practices annually. Thus, this will be through the participation in the co-curricular activities such as drama, games and equal social interactions. There will be free interactions of children with management and their teachers who will identify their skills and   De Benítez (2007) assert that such projects need to offer personal and specialized interventions like counseling, and they try to ensure that the children have essential access services. The social workers together with teachers will also work to reduce the depriving adverse effects by engaging dedicated services such as support for substance abuse, sports empowerment, and trauma therapies.

The management of such projects ought to work closely with the local administration and the political leaders to provide significant interventions like offering treatment and psychosocial counseling to sexual abuse victims (de Benítez, 2007).Therefore, the leaders will assist with plans including those of home placements to realize reunions with families so that they will be visiting their children in the centers. Other government interventions that the project will require include the preparation of outreach workers for the street children and launch of child help hotlines so that the projects attain the one million children target. Other support services include complaint and mechanisms for reporting and psychosocial counselling.

2.5 Members of the Project

Projects must have steering committees to ensure successful implementation. Therefore, the project team should headed by the executive who consists of Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, Coordinator and other members (Mathur, 2009). It should also incorporate building and construction engineers, community social and health workers, community parents, community administration, community religious leaders, early childhood teachers, and government representatives.

2.6 Timeframe and Place of the Project

The 2 rehabilitation centres will be put up at the same time in a period of 2 years in the two cities of India i.e. Kolkata and Bombay. The first year will involve engaging the different stakeholders in consultations and signing agreements and the actual construction will commence in the second year. Sen (2009) claims that the Indian government should adopt Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) based approaches in addressing the issue of street children. Therefore, the implementation of such projects needs the facilitation of the government in terms of land agreements and provision of security services to the facilities.

2.7 Focus Area

The most worrying survey that was conducted in Kolkata revealed that 6 children in every 554 of age 5 to 14 were HIV positive (Bal et al., 2010). 18 million children surviving along the streets of India is a worrying number that needs to be treated with the seriousness it deserves (Sen, 2009). Hence, the project is intended to rehabilitate the lives of these children in the two common streets of India i.e. Kolkata and Bombay by providing them with early childhood education, proper clothing, nutrition and HealthCare. The street children have for a long time been subjected to torture, mistreatment, and forced labour (Bal et al.2010). Therefore, the project will assist to deal with the issue of child labour along the streets by engaging them in productive life transforming activities.

3.0 Project Planning

Phases Proposed work Responsibility Timeframe
Phase 1 Interviewing the street children, their families, and the community on the need for the project Teachers of early childhood and the community social workers June 2018-August 2018
  Consultation with community parents Community social workers September-October 2018
  Consultation with community administration and  religious leaders Parents selected November to December 2018
  Consultation with government representatives Community administration January to February 2019
  Compile & review stakeholders feedback All members of the project March to April 2019
Phase 2 Reviewing financing report

 

All members of the project May to June 2019
Phase 3 Actual construction Building and construction engineers and the project executive July to June 2020

4.0 Pricing

Cost centres Cost per unit Number of units Total cost
Project resource cost- Project resource cost-Cement $4 100,000 bags $400,000
S Project resource cost-and $20 per truck 1000 trucks $20,000
Project resource cost-Bricks $1 200,000 bricks $200,000
Project resource cost-Painting $10 1000 buckets $10,000
Human resource cost-Labour $1 100 construction workers  for 8 hrs/day for 5 months $120,000
Human resource cost- $150 1000 $150,000
Human resource cost-Managers and support staff $880 50 $44,000
Project resource cost-Stationaries $.002

$.001

2,000,000 books

2,000,000 Pens

$4000

$2000

Travel cost-Travel allowance for project team $1000 50 members $50,000
    Total cost $1,000,000

 

5.0 Sustainability  

The projects should achieve the listed objectives in two cities of India. It is expected to run to the future and there is the desire to make it a world example of a mega project which is going to transform the lives of one million street children in the Indian history (Sen, 2009). The two institutions will embrace cross-sectional exchange programs with other government schools so as to realize universal services to the street children as well (Ba et al., 2010). Therefore, the project is intended to achieve educational standards, better healthcare, nutrition clothing, and reduced child labour that has been most prevalent in India.

5.1 Participation and Ownership of the Project

The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) forced the government to form the Scheme for Assistance to Street Children to address the needs of such children but the results have not been much (Cleghorn and Prochner, 2010). Therefore, this project requires the full support of the government, the community administration, members of the surrounding communities, early childhood teachers, community health workers, and the vulnerable children in general. The two facilities will be fully owned by the communities and the children of the places they are going to be constructed. Hence, some 10 parents of the cities have offered free land where the construction will take place (Cleghorn and Prochner, 2010). The local administration together with the department of lands will assist in the drawing of land agreements so as to ensure a smooth transition.

5.2 Capacity Building Mobilising and Educating

            The project is expected to generate incomes through creation of numerous jobs to the population of the local communities such as, trained early childhood teachers, trained community healthcare workers, cateresses, and other support staff. Jambunathan and Caulfield (2008) support the implementation of exchange programs with the government-owned rehabilitation centres in the areas of child education and teachers’ continuous training. This is aimed at realizing uniformity in the educational curriculum of all the children in India. This project will also offer additional services such as seasonal trainings to untrained individuals who may want to become trainers in the future. The parents will also be trained on general skills of cooking and maintaining health standards in their households. All these will be achieved through collaboration with the local Early Childhood Development (ECD) colleges to offer free training services to aspiring teachers (Cleghorn and Prochner, 2010). The local health centres will offer free training to the parents on health-related issues within the premises of the rehabilitation centres.

5.3 Environmental and Contextual Sustainability

            The street children form groups with leaders who sometimes use the younger children to commit crimes such as stealing and drugs business (Sharma and Lal, 2011). The 2 projects will ensure a crime and drug free society where children’s lives are transformed through education, healthcare, proper nutrition and, clothing and through international education exchange programs. The projects will also provide long-term employment opportunities to the communities and it is expected to attract foreign attention on the need to advocate for the rights of children.

5.4 Generative

Street children ought to be exposed to transformative economic activities. The two rehabilitation centres will put in place some long-term sustainable projects so as to generate incomes for self-reliance (Mathur, 2009). Projects such as rearing of milk and meat cows and bees for honey will be highly considered. The milk will be consumed by the children and the excess processed into products such as yoghurt and cheese which will be sold to the local community to earn income. There will be an idea to establish a slaughterhouse for the meat cows and the meat products will be sold to the surrounding institutions and the community. Honey from bee rearing will be packed and sold to the local and national supermarkets to earn income (Mathur, 2009). Additionally, the centres will have bakeries for baking loaves and snacks for children consumption and the excess will be sold in the immediate shops and supermarkets to raise additional income.

6.0 Conclusion

In conclusion, from Khwairakpam and Sukhminder (2013) argument, the issue of street children in India’ cities is alarming. The children find their way into streets due to poor parental relationships and topics such as alcoholism, separation, inadequate incomes, and death of one or both parents. As a result, these children have no access to clean food, drinking water, proper clothing and medication. Due to hard economic conditions facing the children they are involved in child labour doing small chores such as cleaning vehicles, working in small hotels, and constructions sites where they are underpaid and mistreated. They also engage in petty crimes like pickpocketing and drug abuse which leads them to participate in immoral sexual activities thereby increasing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV. The street life does not allow these children to access early childhood education that is necessary for their future prosperity. The efforts of international NGOs like the UNICEF and the Indian government associations to rehabilitate the children into Early Childhood Care and Education have not yielded much due to the ever rising population of the children. Based on Sen (2009) findings, the two intended projects of rehabilitation centres with the support of the community administration and labour seek to provide interventions measures through ethical and political practices so as to achieve access to basic needs and the education for the children.

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