HYDERABAD: Lateefa is one of the facilitators at the Child Care and Learning Centres (CCLCs) set up by the NGO Aide et Action (AeA) for migrant children.
Talking about the pathetic condition these children are in when they arrive to the city along with their parents, Lateefa said, “They live in utter poverty. Most of them are malnourished, in tattered clothes and are vulnerable to all kinds of diseases. They just travel with their parents, who, in search of livelihood travel across states. They are neglected because the only thing on the parents’ minds is to earn money and survive the day,” said Lateefa, who works at Aparna Hill Park in Chanda Nagar.
She was at the state-level consultation meeting - Care, Learning and Healthy Environment for Children of Migrant Workers, where various stakeholders discussed issues of migrant labour and their children. Once on work, the parents are not in a position to think about the child’s status. “Their well-being is a far-fetched thought for parents. They rush to work to make ends meet. Most of them have to clear debts back home as they migrate from Odisha, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and other states. Some of them have small patches of land but many mouths to feed,” added Varalakshmi, another facilitator with AeA’s CCLC in Aparna Grand, Gachibowli.
Children aged eight years and above can be often seen collecting scrap left at construction sites. “They sell the scrap and buy snacks till their parents return in the evening as their parents don’t have the time to cook,” said Varalakshmi.
With no one to take care of them, these children spend their time loitering near the construction sites, often exposed to many dangers. “There are so many hazardous things on the construction site. Then, there is no time for hygiene. Children are susceptible to all kinds of diseases,” pointed Saritha, who is a facilitator at Sri Sai Rama Towers in Hafeezpet.