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Empowering parents: PMC thinks out of the box on street children

The Golden Globe award winner Slumdog Millionaire might have raised the issue of street children.

Written by Ajay Khape | Pune |
January 15, 2009 2:10:14 am

The Golden Globe award winner Slumdog Millionaire might have raised the issue of street children. However,the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) with its efforts to improve the life of street children through project Gharte is going a step ahead planning to empower parents of children by providing them professional training so that the children are permanently rehabilitated.

“I have not seen the movie. I hope it will create awareness among the public,but there is a need of dedicated social workers who are ready to perform,” municipal commissioner Praveensinh Pardeshi said.

There is good work being carried out in Delhi and it has been decided to conduct exchange program for those working for Gharte,he said.

An initiative to give a better childhood to children on street has been made and much needs to be done to achieve the objective,Pardeshi said adding his dream is to keep the children away from bad habits that spoil their future and bring them back to main stream.

“We need to at least give better childhood to children on streets. There are an estimated 450 children on streets in the city and we have been able to reach 300 so far,” he said. Pardeshi said the parents of street children will be provided with vocational training for self-employment and even the possibility of forming a self-help group would be explored for them.

“It has been observed that the families of the children on streets are more attracted towards money than the well being of their children. Thus,it has been decided that the parents would be empowered to earn their living and keep their children out of streets,” joint municipal commissioner Ashok Kalamkar said. He expressed hope that the award winning film would create awareness among citizens and would encourage many to take up the cause to improve the lives of the children on streets.

The mentality of the families on street is different from general public as they want more money in less time and think only of the present,he said adding these families are very superstitious and take loan from moneylenders to pay for the superstition.

“We have decided to involve community leaders to discourage the parents of street children from falling prey to superstition. It would be more effective to approach them through community leaders or they might get a wrong message if those appointed by the civic administration carry out the responsibility,” Kalamkar said.

Suneeta Waghmare of Bachpan Bachao Sanstha,one of the four NGO working with PMC,said that the objective of bringing the children on streets into mainstream could be achieved only if there is contribution from all citizens.

“The PMC initiative is giving good results and we have been able to admit 10 children in PMC run school in Hadapsar,” she said. Dilip Sarda of the Sanstha said the citizens merely discuss the issue and fail to contribute.

“It is wrong if the citizens give money to the children seen on the streets begging or selling somethin. It is like encouraging them to live a precarious life,” he said the issue is serious and needs to be tackled slowly and carefully in order to bring the children to the mainstream.

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