Evidently, the most vulnerable section of the society, street children are forced to live and earn on the street. UNICEF estimates the number of street children worldwide to be between 100 million to 150 million, with 18 million of them in India. Due to poverty, these children work odd jobs to contribute to their family income. In many instances, they are abandoned by parents, and often end up on the wrong side of law.
Lack of access to basic education to street children is considered violation of the fundamental human right law (Right to Education, proclaimed in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.) Providing basic education to street children empowers them and provides a way of eliminating poverty, ignorance, and illiteracy.
Many NGOs in India are working toward educating Street Children. One such NGO is CHETNA(Childhood Enhancement through Training and Action)
“Children are free to come and go as they please at CHETNA without questions being asked about their absence, or being embarrassed in front of their peers. This is an important aspect of the program for many youth who have to work to survive, to support their younger siblings, or to feed their families. The humiliation of falling behind in classes is a reason for many street children not returning to formal school.”
However, CHETNA caters to children upto 18 years old only. Without the guidance of CHETNA,
‘many have fallen back into old habits without the support they had grown accustomed to.’
CHETNA is working with other non-profit organizations to provide support to these youngsters. Read more at http://mediaglobal.org/article/2009-04-25/street-education-reaches-neglected-child-populations
CHETNA students also maintain a blog at http://chetnastudents.blogspot.com/2009/01/about-chetna-ngo.html