Ganesh Sonune, acting in-charge of PMC’s social development department (SDD), said, “This was the first survey of its kind related to street children, conducted along with the Rainbow Homes NGO. During the survey, we found around 27 children vending on the streets and traffic signals and only 8 per cent of were found begging.Right now, we have only one shelter in the city, located at Yerwada. This houses 100 street children and is run by another NGO. Now, we have to set up around 20 such centres to rehabilitate all these children where we can provide them with basic facilities along with education.“
He added, “We are making a detailed report on their rehabilitation and are aware that frequent counselling is needed to change their mindset.We will start the process soon and then will able tell how many want to stay in the homes.“
According to civic officials, the reason for the high number of street children in Baner-Balewadi is that it is well-connected to Mumbai and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Also, the area is a hotbed of construction activities.
In the survey, 50 per cent of the children fell in the 6-14 years category, while 21 per cent were in the category of 3-5 years. There are 163 children living alone, while 8,372 live with their families. The remaining are working on the streets. Only 894 children are from Pune city, with most being from places such as Usmanabad, Latur, Beed, Parbhani, and Solapur. There are also some from Nepal and Bangladesh.
V Ch S Bahadur, director ( programmes) of Rainbow Homes, said, “We conducted the survey over a month and are making detailed analysis of the findings. At present, we can say that for the age group of 6 to 14 years, there should be a residential school provided within city limits. For those above 14 years, we have to provide them with vocational training so that they may be ready for employment.“
Source : TOI