STREET CHILDREN OF DHAKA CITY : WHERE THEY ARE HEADING TO?
Keywords:STREET CHILDREN, DHAKA CITY
The presence of a large number of homeless children on the streets of Dhaka
city is silently growing into a matter of concern that can lead to major negative
consequences on the society as a whole. This research paper aims at developing
into the issues of street children, their socio-economic condition, adversities faced
by them and the subsequent effect on social, economic, political and national
security. The study conducted in Dhaka city focused on bus terminals, railway
stations, market places and traffic signals due to their concentration in these areas.
Several data collection methodologies were used while 75 boys and 26 girls in age
group 5-18 years were interviewed. Several case studies provide a better
illustration of their lives. The study has come up with findings on the adversities
faced by street children daily. Subsequent consequences include involvement in
criminal activities and inability to integrate with mainstream society. Serious
repercussions of street life include retarded mental and physical growth thus
threatening quality of life, holding an ominous future and having subsequent effect
on human, societal, national, regional and international security. Thus, what seems
to be a small problem in the present context could become a serious threat in
future, if neglected. This study has come up with several suggestions like awareness
building, media campaign, changing social mind-set, sympathetic attitude towards
their plight and providing accommodation especially night shelters. Education in
the form of night schools, vocational training, health care facilities and legal aid
will enable them to undergo rehabilitation in the society. To remove the children
from the streets, they must be motivated to remain off the streets and counselled to
reintegrate with their families as well as to overcome trauma, dysfunctional
behaviour and ensure smooth transition to normal life. As the government has
reaffirmed its commitment to Child Rights by signing two optional protocols in
United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children and has recognized street
children in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and National Children Policy
coordinated action plans must be pursued with utmost urgency to mitigate
hardships and rehabilitate them. This would result in street children being turned
into national assets capable of contributing meaningfully to the society, and
ultimately to the nation.
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