90 pc street kid dropouts use drugs

Not enough counsellors to help rehabilitate such children

More than 90 per cent of children living on the streets drop out of school because of drug addiction, activists said at a seminar about issues faced by street children.

“We need to look at ways in which we can bring back children to schools. According to our earlier survey over 50,000 children are on the streets suffering some form of abuse,” said Shireen Miller from NGO Save the Children.

“This was given to the government one and a half years ago but no scheme or law has been put in place. Also, there is no data available with the government on children living on streets,” she added.

Some 56 per cent of children living on the streets are dependent on drugs.

Physical abuse is a common phenomena among street children which has also been identified by the Ministry of Women and Child Development with a percentage as high as 66.8 per cent.

Two out of every three children fall under this bracket.

Experts demand for rehabilitation and care units for street children who are victims of substance (drug) abuse.

Luke Samson, director of Sharan, a Delhi-based NGO, said there were no counsellors to deal with the problem.

“We need skilled counsellors. But there is nobody to train counsellors as there is lack of material on how to rehabilitate such children. These children are also suffering from HIV which is never looked into,” he said

Saddam who has lived in Delhi streets from the past 11 years and was recently rehabilitated at the Society for the Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM) centre, said he has spent adequate time in jails as a juvenile for committing murder, thefts and picking up fights under the effect of drugs.

“We need more centres which can help provide these children hope that they can lead a normal life. We need homes which will provide them care unlike the present juvenile homes which do not provide any education and medical facilities.

Most of the services address people over 18 years and regulation and licensing make services difficult to access,” said Zeenat N chairperson of SPYM.

A music event was also organised for street children on Monday evening.

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