Friday, November 25, 2016

Manul Scavengers need a better life

I just happened to see a documentary film about Manual Scavengers and I just broke to shame :(

"I don't think there will be a day when I don't have to do this work, But I do not want my son to be like me….” A person in the video says before he breakout in tears.

"No one respects me in the society, I better die rather than doing this work for survival" a lady cries... "Am I also not a human being?" an elderly person asks.

"I have had many suffocation, There are many times I feel afraid that I will die" other person says. It is risky work; the buildup of waste emits a lethal cocktail of carbon monoxide and methane. Getting into a man-hole or a latrine is something very dangerous than you can imagine.

It's an extremely degrading and dangerous occupation. Most manual scavengers don't have suitable equipment. They don’t have gloves, No boots often they handle’em in plain hands or self-made bamboo/aluminium plates.

"I had no choice ; Perhaps it was my destiny." the other lady nods quietly. 

Isn’t it a shame to have manual scavenging still existing in India? Dry latrines, which are cleaned by manual scavengers still exist in public establishments and private houses in many parts of India, defying the basic human’s the most degrading still existing practice of "untouchability" in the country.

India’s Constitution, The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, prohibits compelling anyone to practice manual scavenging. In 2013, the Indian parliament enacted The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act (the 2013 Act) outlawing all manual excrement cleaning. But still the below figures are really worrisome. 

Source: Lok Sabha

Though a majority of the Indians has access to mobile phones, it’s really pity that more than 25% of the Indians do not have proper sanitation, including toilets or latrines, affecting the environment, human health, dignity  security, and social and economic development.

As long as, there are dry toilets, there will be a need to clean them and so the manual scavengers. Unless, everyone realize of the badness around manual scavenging and #opendefaction, it’s near impossible to scrap the shame of manual scavenging.

Successive Central and State government attempts to end this shame, but have been derailing by discrimination and local complicity. The government needs to get serious about putting laws banning manual scavenging into practice and assisting the affected caste communities.

#untouchability  #opendefaction  #manulscavenge #

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Concern for Street Children

I felt so shamed and depraved too see a NGO hoarding in the Amsterdam Central Station - featuring Child beggar of India. It was a fund raising poster from a NGO to support the cause for street children.

I was also the one who yelled against Danny Boyle’s portrayal of India in Slumdog Millionaire; but over the years…after living in 2-3 metro cities of India, now I realize that environments of street children in India is not as bad as Boyle showed it - In fact they are even more worse😢.

Among the many impossible tasks, the counting of exact number of street children is also a mere impossible. Some estimate from UNICEF says, there could be approx..10 to 40 million in India alone, whereas the percentage of YoY increase is alarmingly so high !.

Street Children is a challenging issue for most of underdeveloped and heavily populated countries such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and several other countries of the world but unfortunately, there hasn’t been any motivated effort ever made to widely discuss the matter of “street children” anywhere around the world. There is no well-managed, well-coordinated, detailed research and study ever conducted or existing on this issue of prime importance.

Who are they? How do they become street children?

Children can be found in railway stations, near temples/Churches/Masks, in markets, under bridges, near bus depots and stops, etc. According to UNICEF street children fall under two categories: “On the street” and “Of the street”.

"Children of the street" are homeless children who live and sleep on the streets in urban areas. They are on their own and do not have any parental supervision or care though some do live with other homeless adults.

"Children on the street" earn a livelihood from street such as street urchins and beggars. They return home at night and have contact with their families.

The distinction is an important one because children of the street lack emotional and psychological support of a family and the impact they’d create in the society when they grow is also very critical!.

How should we solve this problem?

Its so easy to ask, but the solution is a giant task. There are Many NGO’s and government agencies are working together to help these children, steps like extending extra health facilities, establishing nutrition programs, providing vocational training, protecting children from abuse, distributing dry-food poly packs, providing night shelters, providing ration cards, and creating bathing and toilet facilities are some of the steps that may lead to improvement in these children’s life.

In order to provide services to this vulnerable group of children the Government of India began the Integrated Programme for Street Children.

If you care for these poor kids and willing to help, please reach out the supporting government & NGO/volunteers and help whatever you can - to bring them out of the streets .  #streetchildren #EveryLastChild #slumdog