Floating Children of a Tainted City

Project One of Restless Beings has come a long way. From witnessing the shocking circumstances of innocent children in a so-called God-fearing city to the birth of a rehab centre aimed at street children, afflicted by abuse and neglect, who frequent to get a taste of what it feels to live the life of a nourished child. 

From the onset, data has been regularly collected on those that Restless Beings communicates with. Places like Kamlapur railway station, Tejgaon railway station and Sadarghat Launch Terminal were found to have large hubs of street population with slum dwellings in close vicinity filled with sooty faces and battered souls. Our field workers have managed to collect data on around 426 children, though with 87% of them being boys; this is primarily due to the fact that building trust with girls is a longer and more sensitive process. And yet it is no surprise since they tend to be on the receiving end of most adults illicit, rampant sexual inclinations or verbal and physical abuse. For this reason the Bangladesh team are even more determined to reach out to these children and enlighten them with an alternative route that would assist them in standing on their own two feet with dignity and confidence. 
 
Driven by poverty, hunger and the need to earn money, it is predicted that almost 92% of the girls are forced to offer sexual favours to day labourers, police/security guards and small businessmen in market places, railway stations, and bus terminals. Such unspeakable horrors are daily occurrences for these street girls. Simultaneously a number of the boys are also involved in prostitution but are not so forthcoming in discussing it as most of their clients tend to be men.
 
 
The vast majority of the children are substance abusers, having access to 'dandi' (gum-coated polythene), Phensidyl, 'ghanja' or cannabis, heroin, and even things like shoe polish and sleeping pills where it is combined with other materials to form harmful substances. By day the children, over 92% of them being boys, make a few taka's by selling them in street corners and market places.  By night they douse themselves in the drugs as they prepare for the horrors that await them in the shadowed corners of the city. This is not by choice; but we want to give them one. The Restless Beings rehab centre will provide for the children a rehabilitation programme that will help to gently and systematically wean them off of the substances as well as open for them alternate routes of earning a living.  
 
Children such as these have been robbed of their innocence. 
 
Where a child should be surrounded by protectors, given room to grow and flourish, and informed of rights and wrongs of life, they are instead raped by authority and thrown into a murky world where corruption is the currency; forced to fight for survival, they involve themselves in unlawful acts like stealing and working for local 'mastans'. 4% of our children admit to using such means to earn a living, most of which are boys. 
 
Thus motivated by the realities of their lives the Restless Beings rehab centre will instil hope, opportunity and happiness in all the dejected souls it comes across. 
 
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."
- Mary Anne Radmacher
 

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