Will the kid use money to indulge in drugs? Or will he/she get to utilise the money?
Such thoughts have always stopped me and, most probably many of you, from giving money to a child beggar. Across India, children usually beg for money for their masters or parents who then spend it on alcohol, illegal substances, but never on the kids who got the money in the first place.
Many times, in the course of a day, I wish we do try to do something for the kids who have nothing.
Pondering over ways to lend a helping hand to those forgotten children who rarely get help but deserve it the most, I came across the many ways in which people are doing the needful without involving money.
Read on to find out how you and I can touch the lives of the street children:
1) Spread Your Knowledge To Educate Them
You do not need a physical classroom to teach children. All you need is a will and a touch of kindness. Do not believe me?
Meet 22-year-old Haimanti Sen from Mumbai who is using the Kandivali Station skywalk to teach underprivileged children from a nearby basti (slums) for free.
Likewise, Sushil Kumar Meena, a railway engineer from Uttar Pradesh, is the reason behind 3,000 underprivileged children getting free education across UP, Bihar and Rajasthan. From a make-shift tin-sheet structure, an open field nearing harvest, a pavement to a century-old banyan tree, Sushil and his NGO, Nirbhed Foundation have been using public places to impart education since 2013.
Just like Haimanti and Sushil, you can also make an effort to teach street kids. Start by teaching the kids of your domestic help, driver or go to a nearby slum.
2) Your Leftover Food Can Be Someone’s Meal
Wasting food is a habit that we must avoid at all cost, and yet tonnes of food is wasted daily. Next time, pack the food in a box and give it to the children living on the streets. If you happen to be part of a social gathering like weddings or parties, you can simply reach out to the local NGOs/organisations who can pick up the food and deliver it to the poor kids.
You can contact the following organisations for the same:
‘Feeding India’ is operating in 16 cities across the country. Ring them at their 24/7 helpline number: 098711 78810
The Robin Hood Army operates in Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Jaipur, and Jabalpur. It also has a network in Pakistan. For more details, visit the website.
Mumbai Dabbawalas’ ‘Roti Bank’ initiative picks up excess food from homes. Contact them on 91-9867-221-310 or +91-8652-760-542.
Santhimandiram is an institution which provides asylum for the abandoned. The institution collects food from wedding halls, hotels, and well-wishers. For more details, contact the organisation on 919895527372, +919895525097.
3) Joy of Toy
Do you remember what happened to that toy car or the Barbie doll you once had? Several toys that always seemed less in number when we were kids, eventually grew into clutter. Instead of discarding them, you can pass them down to the street kids who may never get a chance to play with toys.
Get together with your friends, co-workers, relatives and collect all the toys that are of no use to you and distribute it among the street kids.
Need some motivation? Meet Hirin Dave, an Ahmedabad-based web developer, who collects old toys and distributes them among underprivileged children through her initiative Give Toy Give Joy. So far, Hirin has collected more than 2,000 toys from around 300 families across the city.
4) Use the Power of Social Media Wisely
Social media has become a powerful tool that can bring a change in society.
Using this tool, Avijit Bajpai from Delhi formed a Facebook group—Happy Birthday Bharat, to celebrate birthdays of street children. The group has 2,200 active members, and they have arranged birthday parties for over 200 children in 10 different cities, including Mumbai, Bengaluru and Pune.
In another heartwarming gesture, Vimal Cherangattu crowdsourced 700 umbrellas and Rs 40,000 within ten days during the 2018 monsoon. He had created a WhatsApp group with his friends and posted a PowerPoint presentation where he added a story asking people to contribute umbrellas to protect the kids from heavy rains.
Like Avijit and Vimal, you can also initiate a cause, a donation drive or throw a birthday party!
5) Make A Seasonal Kit
At the onset of rains, umbrellas are on sale, in winter, it’s warm clothes, and during summers, it’s caps. While the sales may be your Secret Santa to the cheap and latest fashion, you can also be someone else’s Secret Santa.
Make a kit of all season-specific items, and distribute it among the street kids. For example, in summers, you can make a hamper consisting of glucose biscuits, energy drinks, and water bottles to keep children from getting dehydrated. Likewise, make a kit for the winters.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)