Perhaps the most disadvantaged group in India are the millions of street children who live or work on the street. Street children have fallen through society’s cracks – there are few ladders for them to climb back up. They live as their parents did and as their own children are likely to do. Children live and work on the street because their parents are poor, or they are orphans, or they have run away from home, often to escape abuse. They are invariably malnourished, receive scant education or medical treatment, and are involved in child labour from an early age. Child prostitution and sexual abuse are also major problems, as is addiction to drugs. These children live in a different world to the emerging middle class. Taken as a separate nation, they represent one of the neediest peoples on the planet.
In Jaipur the problems of street children are chronic.
Like India, the city of Jaipur has two sides: it has prosperous jewellery and tourist industries, yet also sprawling slums and acute poverty. As the capital of the poor, desert state of Rajasthan, Jaipur has been the focal point of massive immigration during a recent series of droughts. These migrants, plus many impoverished others, live with their children in illegal makeshift shacks, tents, or on the
Since 1993, i-india, an ngo (non profit) based in Jaipur, India, has been working for the welfare and educational needs of street children. These children have fallen through society’s cracks. In Jaipur, where i-india works, the problem is chronic. Street children are forced to do work including rag-picking, begging, prostitution and domestic labour. i-india offers the children the opportunity to work in a different way through the production of jewellery and handicrafts while providing a safe environment amongst teachers, staff and volunteers.
I-india began as the vision of two people, a Sociology professor, and a local teacher, Prabhakar and Abha Goswami, both passionate about the rights of street children. It began with voluntary teaching in the slums. Every year i-india an NGO in Jaipur, India- improves the lives of approx. 4000 street children in Jaipur and around India, through its programmes including homes, vocational and academic teaching, street schools, medical care, and sanitation. Many foreign volunteers also come each year to teach English, Math, Dance, etc, or provide administrative support.
Many street children come to the centre through the phone support service, Child Line, or through our outreach staff at railway stations. Once a child has been housed in one of i-india’s homes, trained staff and teachers assist them with their emotional and academic education.
One of the main sources of income for i-india is generated from the production of jewellery and accessories made by the children. The jewellery is of superb quality, and you can buy it knowing that the proceeds are funding i-india’s projects. The jewellery and handicrafts provide the child with income, as well as the valuable vocational skills of jewellery making for the girls and sewing for the boys.
Through these programmes, and the dedication of the teachers, staff and volunteers, children gain confidence, social values and most importantly, skills which will carry them further in life. If you’d like to help i-india through voluntary work, donating or buying our products, please contact us!