UNICEF defines street children as, "those who are of the street and on the street."
A study reported last year noted that children, as young as 7 years old, make their earnings on the street only to get a total of 20-30 taka per day - not even enough to buy a packet of crisps in UK - with “…almost all of their income…usually spent for food with little or no savings”. Their situation dictates that they must make monetary contribute towards the income of their family, using whatever means possible, enivitably exposing them to an array of illnesses, dangerous and unhealthy conditions from a very young age.
But these are not just the findings of a study; the Restless Beings Bangladesh team have been keeping contact with the street children of Dhaka regularly; building and maintaining strong, healthy relationships. Collating the stories and journeys of the children we meet, we bring to you the tales of some of them.
At first sight, Smriti seems like a well-balanced girl.
Smriti is an 11-year-old girl who lives on the street with her parents and 3 other siblings. Her main source of income is casual, part-time domestic work where she manages to get enough for herself and some of her family members. Her parents, though both unemployed, understand the value of education and have encouraged her to attend a nearby missionary school a couple of days a week. Smriti has informed us that she has no history of prostitution or any drug abuse. Yet when asked about how she gets along with her peers, she wasn’t so comfortable in giving a response.
Upon further questioning she informed us that there were a few ‘friends’ she made on the streets who introduced her to a group of men who wanted to take “naughty pictures” of her. She informed us that they tried to blackmail her several times but each time she has managed to resist the pressure. As a result she has had to withstand a lot of emotional abuse and bullying.
The Bangladesh team admired Smriti’s strength and drive and felt if she were to be nurtured and given the opportunity to access her potential she would be on a path to a bright and promising future.
This is only one of the many, many stories carried by the street children; a reality that Restless Beings wishes to alter and reshape.
Help, as ever, is vital for these children. Through voicing and making donations towards the Restless Beings Village you can help us create a safe haven from the drug abuse, malnutrition and sexual exploitation that they face on a daily basis.
* Images edited to conceal the identity of the children.