June 19, 2013 | 11:11 PM (BD Time)
19 June, 2013 Wednesday
Afghan President Karzai to boycott talks with Taliban ; 30 brokers jailed at Agargaon passport office ; ACC a toothless tiger : Chairman ; Obama to call for nuclear cuts in Berlin speech ; 2 fake DB men arrested in Jessore; Hartal in CHT progressing peacefully for 2nd day ; NSA director says plot against Wall Street foiled ; Israeli premier: pressure on Iran must continue ; DCC elections after Eid-ul-Fitr : EC ; Indefinite transport strike (Khulna) enters day 3 ; 18-party to stage demo countrywide on June 22 ; One killed in Jamalpur ‘by brother’ ; Jhenidah road crashes kill 2 ;
Predicaments of street children
Dr. Md Shakhawat Ullah Chowdhury and Dr. Md Shairul Mashreque :
Street Children in Bangladesh are growing up on the margins of society in a state of neglect and deprivation, without educations, affection, care and guidance. Once a child takes to the street there is a strong possibility that the child, both girls and boys may end up sexually abused and exploited. This is because survival becomes the sole priority - in the absence of alternatives, street children are forced to do anything, which keep them alive. During political demonstration, they are exposed to dangers like bombs, and stray bullets.
Street children are already familiar with the insecurity of not knowing from where their next meal is coming, particularly those street job is not regular, or for whom work is not available 5 days a month on the average, may be 10,20, 30 days in some months. The streets still hold other hazards and risks for all street children.
The main problems about their life include difficulty in getting job, or even if the job is found, the dissatisfaction at job, misbehavior from the owners of the houses in which they live, scarcity of money when they are ill and have to buy medicine or when they need doctor, only one dress to wear in the school and no time to play in the afternoon when, all others play, they feel very much deprived of their basic rights. There are reports that physical torture or corporal punishment is widely practiced by some employer. Caning on shoulders and palms, and
squeezing a pen between the child's fingers were the most common example of corporal punishment provided to them. The children interviewed said that not only was the corporal punishment inflicted on them by their employer physically painful, also other children made fun of them, made them feel "mentally bad".
The street children lack basic resources to sustain a healthy living. They usually have no financial means to buy decent clothing [which may be necessary in cold places], and no money to buy food, which is 'crucial for their development. Because of the costs of services most street children cannot afford to go to school. Even where schools are free, many children cannot afford to buy uniforms, shoes and books. Street children live in places where they are not adequately protected from the environment. They rarely have access to facilities that they need for hygiene and sanitation, such as toilets and clean and safe water supply. They are therefore more vulnerable to health problems from poor sanitation.
When the community makes plans, it dose not take into consideration the street children's plight. Street children tend to be excluded from participating in most of the activities and facilities of other children. This is one reason why street children often do not have access to medical, educational, recreational and vocational resources. They face problems such as lack of vaccinations; poor health, illiteracy and they cannot acquire skills needed for finding jobs.
The street is an unprotected environment and street children are exploited frequently. In some places, street children may even face the possibility of physical injuries or death from violence. Common sources of violence are: the police, gangs, and drug syndicates, those who operate commercial sex businesses, death squads, other street children, families and sexual partners.
Society usually perceives street children as difficult children who are out there to cause trouble. In general, the public thinks that street children are uncontrollable and violent, have substance use problems, have no morals, have lost all the ability to feel emotions such as love and that they turn into terrorists and revolutionaries. They tend to be unsympathetic to love and that they turn into terrorists and revolutionaries. They tend to be unsympathetic to the street children's plight. This negative attitude may be a result of the society's inability to care for its people.
Even though some street children can usually get enough to eat, they do not have nutritious diets. This leads to malnutrition, anemia and vitamin deficiencies. Injuries are another problems caused intentionally [including injuring self while intoxicated or when depressed] and unintentionally, e.g. due to use of tools, which have been designed for adults. The rate of injuries is usually higher for male than for female street children.
Sexual and reproductive health problems affect both girls and boys. However, street girls are more vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse and exploitation. Common sexual and reproductive health problems include sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions . Pregnant street girls do not receive adequate antenatal care.
Street children experience many common diseases such as tuberculosis; skin diseases, dental problems and parasitic diseases, which can be prevented easily if these children have enough resources.
Many situation and events that pushed these children onto the street in the first place [like natural disasters, man-made disasters, exploitation and conflicts] may have a lasting impact on their well-being. For example, the family conflict that pushed the child onto the streets continues to deprive the child of emotional and material support for years afterwards. When the child has his or her own baby, neither the new parent nor the baby will have the benefit of the previous generation's support.
Street Children are often homeless, hungry and abused, and we need to do something to help them. Street Children appeal to our paternal or maternal instincts to protect and care for young children.
Having young children on the street offends our ideaAs of what childhood should be about. We believe that all children should have a home to go to, to provide shelter, and a caring fami
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