‘Street urchins now better privileged under new initiative’

DHAKA, March 15, 2017 (BSS) - Nearly a thousand of street urchins overlooked since birth in capital Dhaka are now enjoying better privileges like their fortunate counterparts born at solvent families, under a new initiative that provides food, shelter and education for their proper growth.

Over 900 such children were given protection in two separate shelter homes during last one year in the city after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made an announcement that no floating children would be left unattended and uneducated in streets.

These children were not only provided with their basic needs but also trained for proper manner, etiquette, behavior, sports and culture so that they can grow fully and absorbed in the mainstream of society during their adulthood.

"I want to be a police officer," said Robin Mia, a seven-year old boy, who lives at Karwan Bazar Shelter Home in the city. Robin, who was a day laborer in Karwan Bazar and had experienced cruelties at times, wanted to be a police officer to protect other street children who encounter physical, mental, financial and social deprivations.

Two other boys�Shimul,10, and Kamal,12,-had the identical views and both of them wanted to join legal professions- one wants to be a judge while the other to be a lawyer. Their new shelter has infused a high level of confidence in the minds.

"Now I can speak better and interact with people," said Shimul, who confessed he has learnt some tips for better mannerism and behavior during the last one year, though he is still at class one in formal education. Happily he explained further: I can now play with a full meal and no uncertainty to sleep at night.

Authorities of the shelter homes said they have been trying their best to grow every child with the highest possible attention and care at their homes. Aside from food, shelter and education, the children were also provided life skills and made familiar with country's history. All of them now can sing national anthem, they added.

The identity of the children would also be protected through their digital birth registrations and bio-metrics, the caretakers of the homes said. They added: these children attend their classes during day time.

Government's Department of Women and Children Affairs sources said they have taken a project to rehabilitate street children of capital Dhaka under pilot project costing Taka three crore. If successful, it's project director Dr Abul Hossain said, identical initiative would be taken in other cities across Bangladesh.

According to a survey, an estimated 3,000 street children live in capital Dhaka and most of them do not stay at one place. They roam from one place to another place. The new rehabilitation initiative from the government is, however, expected to attract all of them in the shelter home facilities and get an opportunity to turn them resources instead of becoming a social liability.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)