Before we go ahead and discuss why it is important to be a volunteer for the Street Children Program in India, let’s first dig deeper into this social problem that has been there in the country for decades.
Going by the exact definition as Wikipedia puts it – A street child in India is someone “for whom the street (in the widest sense of the word, including unoccupied dwellings, wasteland, etc.) has become his or her habitual abode and/or source of livelihood; and who is inadequately protected, supervised, or directed by responsible adults”.
As per data, there are nearly 100 million homeless children in India who live on the streets and are forced to earn their livelihood. While the number might not be exact, the fact of their miserable life remains unchanged. Delhi, the capital city, which has seen immense development in the last few decades, struggles the most with the problem of underprivileged kids, having around 1,75,000 of them approximately.While some of these kids are homeless and orphans, others dwell on the streets with their parents and often are the bread earners for the families. They are extremely exploited and forced to overwork at times. They don’t even enjoy the basic right to education.
Volunteering India, in collaboration with several NGOs, has taken up the cause of providing shelter, food, clothing and education to these little ones who are not at fault, yet paying for their misfortune.
Why should I be a part of the Street Children Program?
To keep it short, you should just be a part of this program to share some love. We are all extremely privileged to have families and friends to care for us, love us, pamper us and stand by us through all thick and thin. But for these kids, happiness is more like seasonal rain that comes and goes. We are trying to ensure a more loving and warm environment for them – a place where they can play and learn, have a wholesome meal, sleep and dream. When you join this program, you devote a part of your life for a noble cause of making a difference to the lives of several kids, who would love you back unconditionally.
What I’ll have to do as a volunteer for this program?
Being a volunteer, you’ll have a certain schedule to follow as per program requirements, but you’ll be free to improvise and make the most of your time while with the kids. Your main task would be to make them feel safe and secured. You can take informal classes and teach the kids how to draw or paint. You can also organize some fun games that would be engaging and also help them learn new things. On other occasions, you can just sit and talk with them, know about how their lives have been, share your own stories with them and help them dream.
Volunteers can also guide them about living a better life, about health and sanitation, about food habits and good manners.
Volunteers also take these kids out for day trips to museums and zoo in Delhi, for some qualitative learning sessions.
What will I learn from this project?
Every journey we embark on, has something new to teach us. A volunteering journey is always an enriching experience. This project, undoubtedly, will make you more empathetic. You’ll learn to love your life more, and feel gratitude for all the good things that you’ve been receiving since all these years. You’ll be more patient, as dealing with kids is no easy job!
You’ll also know what the poverty and illiteracy scenario can be like, in a developing country like India. It’ll be your chance to create a much larger impression and inspire other people for joining the noble cause.
When can I join the project and what is the duration?
There’s no particular time for good work!
Anyone who is 17 years or older can be a part of the project, and opportunities are available throughout the year. The minimum duration is 1 week, but in order to make an impact, you should at least spend 2 weeks or more with these little ones in Delhi, India. The maximum duration is for 18 weeks.
Stefania, from Italy, came to volunteer for the Street Children Program in India, and this is what she has to say:
“I enjoyed every moment I spent with the children and the staff and I learned what means be happy just for a touch, a kiss or some attention, something that too often we take for granted.
Did this experience changed me? Yes it did, not in a big way, but in the little things, like give a smile or be ready to listen what people has to tell me, to find the time to look around and see if someone needs my help, to be happy for what I have.”
So if you want to gain an experience of a lifetime, and spread some laughter and happiness in the lives of those underprivileged little ones, then come and join us in this journey.