So many, and so hard to ignore. Children who are forced into adulthood at an age that that they should be playing with Fisher-Price instead.
I see them everywhere I go. Most of them are in smaller groups asking for chapati, money, chocolate, pens, or whatever they can get. They know exactly how to present themselves in order to get something out your wallet.These children have been forced to learn.
They sleep in empty train wagons, inside construction pipes or under bridges.They might work in ragpicking or sort out garbage. Or they can be shoe-watchers, scammers, prostitutes, or a little bit of all the above. Every night they have to make sure to stay safe. Every day they have got to find enough to eat and to come back with some money. They might have sisters and brothers to look after. Their parents might be aggressive, addicted, too poor, ill, or they might be dead.These children have to be inventive, assertive and quick at all times to survive.
They all have their stories. Hollow eyes that have seen too much injustice in this world before being able to comprehend. They dream of a real future.To be some one, one day.
Some of them can be helped.And some of them are being forced to beg. By giving them money, or goods, the cycle keeps continuing. So how can we help them? A kind smile, will their souls still be able to notice? By playing football with them, and let them be a child for a small moment. By working with them every day, and trying to understand their reality?
Children need investment, someone to turn to, and to be accepted by. Children need time to play,and to be taken care of, instead of being hit for not bringing back enough chapatti, or money, to their addicted parents.
It is a sad story. As an outsider, it is very limited what you can do. Showing them kindness, compassion, both are for free and can maybe make a tiny difference on their day. I hope.
And I hope, for each one of them their fate will change. Some day.