Street children of Delhi will soon get an address of their own — child-friendly spaces where they can feel safe and initiate their first steps into formal schooling.
Child Relief and You (CRY) and Save the Children — two leading child rights champions — have joined hands to start a project that aims to bring children from the streets into the classroom.
Given Delhi’s huge population of street children — more than a lakh — the organizations are looking at partnering with the city’s elite schools. The first to be roped in is Blue Bells School, Kailash Colony.
“The concept has worked very well in Kolkata where we have partnered with 12 schools. These schoolchildren will act as peer educators for the street kids,” said Thomas Chandy, CEO of Save the Children.
The child-friendly spaces will be spread all over the city.
“We will carry out specific interventions with three age groups between 3-6, 6-14 and 14-18. Early childhood care and education will be the key focus,” Chandy added.
In Kolkata, the project has already covered 600 street kids.
In Delhi, the project has begun with street children in Nehru Place and will soon extend to Okhla and Govindpuri.
A global survey conducted by Save the Children on early childhood ranked India at an alarming 73 out of 79 sampled developing countries.
“You cannot just pick a child off the street and put him/her in a school. They have to be prepared for the... environment,” said Yogita Verma Saighal, director (Resource Mobilisation), CRY.