Author(s): Reshmi Bhaskaran, Balwat Mehta
Save the Children, in collaboration with the Institute for Human Development (IHD), conducted a census of street children in all nine districts of Delhi in 2010, to find out how many children are living and working on the street in the city and to gain a deeper insight into their lives. The census has shown that: there are around 51,000 street children in Delhi (20% are girls; dalit represent 36% and adivasi 17%); 70% fend for themselves on the street despite having a home in Delhi; 50.5% are illiterate; 87% earn a living (20% as ragpickers, 15.8% as street vendors, 15% by begging); Over 50% have suffered verbal, physical or sexual abuse; Fewer than 20% have ID cards or birth certificates, so they miss out on government schemes. The report makes specific suggestions for facilitation of identity proof to enable access to education, increase in number of shelters and interventions in rural areas to reduce the large-scale migration of young children from rural to urban areas. It is hoped that this study will be an eye opener to the multiple problems of livelihood, health, education and protection faced by street children in Delhi and that the children on the street will have their rights realised as other citizens of India.