CHENNAI: Street children in Chennai have come up with their charter of demands, which includes safe housing for their parents living on streets for decades, clean drinking water, access to identity documents and access to education during Covid-19 pandemic.
Marking the International Day for Street Children, leaders of Karunalaya Children’s clubs and Children’s Committee across the city and the children came up with the charter which also highlighted the need for clean and hygienic toilets to be made available for free 24x7.
They also wanted sanitisers to be kept in the toilets to contain Covid-19. Interestingly, children living on the street have been a vulnerable lot during the pandemic as they do not have access to online classes. Children below Class 9 have been struggling for education as they do not have smartphones and laptops, said Dr N Paul Sunder Singh, secretary of Karunalaya.
Highlighting that while the UN General Comment made on access to services for street children, the government is not adhering to it, Singh wanted the government to evolve specific solutions for them.
“Children on the street suffer a lot due to lack of identity documents such as birth certificate, community certificate, Aadhaar card, ration card to access social welfare benefits that are meant for the poor. These could be simplified for these children,” he said. One of the demands is the need for protection from strangers who abuse girls sleeping on the street.