Street Children

Every day, millions of children and young people across India are denied even the most basic rights of housing and protection.
India is home to the world’s largest population of street children. UNICEF estimates that there are some 11 million children living on the streets at any one time.
This shockingly high number of child homelessness is a tragic symptom of an array of often interlinked causes. Children may end up on the streets as they may have no choice – they are abandoned, orphaned, or disowned by their parents. They may choose to live in the streets because of abuse, mistreatment or neglect or because their homes do not or cannot provide them with basic necessities. Other factors include, famine, natural and manmade disasters, displacement due to armed conflict. With the continued growth of the Indian economy, migration of families to urban areas in search of a better life has also contributed to this problem, as has increased overcrowding in these urban centres.
The result is that street children live in extremely dangerous and horrific conditions. They are usually malnourished with limited to no access to medical treatment. On the street, they receive no education - India has the highest number of 'out of school' children in the world, and some 39% of children do not make it past grade 5.
In the cities, these children often turn to begging. In more rural areas they become child labourers on farms or alongside their parents in other agricultural labour. Marginalised by society, some children turn to drug and alcohol abuse or crime, whilst others are forced into prostitution or are physically and sexually abused.