From A Reporter
SHILLONG, May 28: The number of street children in the city is increasing every passing year. At present, there are more than 38 street children in the pine city, this was informed by Rev. Ruben Laloo, director of Reach Shillong Ministries (RSM) while speaking to The Sentinel.
As per the data collected by the Reach Shillong Ministries, it revealed that the most number of children on and off the street are located at Iew Mawlong with 30 children. Laloo informed that there are three categories of street children one being children off the street, children on the street and abandoned children.
When asked on the main cause for children to be on the street, he said, "The main cause is that some children come from abusive family and another is because these children are orphans plus some are being forced to work."
He further informed that the RSM has launched the 24 hour Crises Magement center in the city which current houses seven homeless children and one ruway child.
Laloo further observed that the increase and decrease of street children is seasol as in the winter the children would come along with their parents to the city from villages to earn a living.
Laloo informed that there are more non-tribal children in the city than there are tribal children.
"There are about 2-3 percent of tribal children on the street and the rest are non-tribal children and most of them come from underprivileged families," the director of RSM said.
He added, "The growing trend of children is increasing year by year, however with the introduction of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) by the government we hope the number of street children will decrease gradually."
According to him, the street children are however being neglected in terms of health care facilities like deworming.
In this connection he informed that the RSM has always written to the state government to send a reminder on this issue.
"The one thing which still lacks in our state which we had highlighted recently is the non-existence of rehabilitation or child friendly detoxification centre as most of the street children are engaged in sniffing dendrite." he said
When asked on measures to curb the increasing number of street children, he said the RSM is currently engaged in targeting not just the children but their family by imparting parenting skills with an aim to strengthen the family.
"When the parents understand the meaning of child rights it will automatically help in reducing the number of children on the street," he said.
Stating that the people should change their perspective on street children, Laloo said, "We want to appeal to the larger community to be more sensitive towards the street children as he or she is just another child and also because they are not there because of their choice but because situation compels them to be on the street."