Childline begins fresh survey of child beggars on city’s streets

Childline begins fresh survey of child beggars on city’s streets

NASHIK: Childline, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) working for children, launched a fresh survey of child beggars on the streets, traffic signals and riverbanks in Nashik city from Sunday. The children rescued in the drive would be admitted to a daycare centre and will be encouraged to attend school.

To rehabilitate street children and bring them into the mainstream, officials of various government departments and NGOs have been meeting at the Nashik district collector’s office for a year now. In the last meeting in July 2014 chaired by the deputy resident collector, it was decided that a survey be conducted to identify street children who needed help. The district child welfare committee was entrusted with the work and was asked to see what could be done for rehabilitating child beggars and other street children.

Childline had conducted a survey in July-August, 2014 on children begging on Nashik’s streets and had submitted the report in October 2014. Later, with the help of the police, the children and their parents were convinced about attending school. Only a month later, these children were again noticed begging on the streets.

On January 16, 2015, Childline raised the topic with the Child Welfare Committee and District Child Protection Unit. An official from the committee said that it had asked Childline to conduct a fresh survey and submit the report of their observations to them.

“As a part of the survey, the police had video recorded the activities of street children. The committee had called us and shown us the footage, but it did not include any of them begging. The activities showed them selling items. Also, they should have asked the names of the children. We have offered our suggestions to the committee,” said Pravin Aher, centre coordinator of Childline.

On January 23, students of the NDMVPS College of Social Work began surveying the city’s riverbanks and the Mumbai Naka traffic signal and its surroundings, along with Childline.

“We found around 25 children and the students are in the process of preparing the data on them. Some children don’t inform their parents and beg at signals. This weekend we will again conduct a survey in areas where children are seen often and we will submit the data to the child welfare committee and the district child protection unit,” said Aher.

Six months back, a daycare centre was established at the Amrapali area of Wadala as part of the National Child Labour Policy. A government scheme, it is managed by NGOs and has 15 children at present.

“Earlier, when we had conducted the first survey, the children were not seen near the signals. We don’t know where they had gone but from November 2014 to mid-December 2014, they were not to be seen. They may have returned home. This time, we are planning to admit them to the daycare school and are planning to create a school there for them,” said Aher.

Committee officials said that findings from the fresh survey would be reviewed and the children will be rehabilitated.


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