Wasted childhood: A peek into the lives of Delhi's street children

Siddharth Behl | Updated on: 1 December 2016, 10:14 IST
Street children Delhi lead
Siddharth Behl

There are lakhs of children who live on Delhi's streets, some with their families and others on their own. Most of them are compelled by their guardians to earn money either through begging or selling small items at pavements and traffic signals.

Some of them don't even get to go to school and most of them don't get proper food.

This story looks at the stories of some of these children, whose childhood has been destroyed because of poverty, displacement and exploitation.

Ragpickers at Nizamuddin Railway station

Ragpickers Nizamuddin station
Siddharth Behl
Vishal collects plastic and glass bottles from trains

Vishal is a 15 year old boy who ran away from his home in Haryana at the age of 10. He faced domestic violence, which deeply affected him mentally. Since then he has been living in Delhi and works as a rag picker. He collects and sells glasses and plastic bottles that have been discareded by passengers on trains.

Faizan
Siddharth Behl
Faizan (13) was a victim of acute domestic abuse

Faizan (13 years) has been living in Delhi for almost 3 years now. His home is in Agra and he ran away from there when he was 10. Like Vishal he often goes to meet his family - a mother, father, an elder brother and a younger sister.

He was a victim of acute domestic violence, something that he naturally doesn't mention during the course of conversations. He has now developed an addiction to drugs and smoking

Street kids
Siddharth Behl

All the children live here together. Their childhood has been lost long ago. They live like young adults. However, they crave for love and family affection.

Ragpickers who stay with family at ISBT 

Mahesh Bhura
Siddharth Behl
Bhura earns around Rs 100 rupees a day after he sells off all the trash he collects.

Mahesh/Bhura is just 10 and is a trash collector. His mother migrated from Madhya Pradesh soon after her marriage and he was born and brought up here in the city. He resides with his parents and other children in a small community near the Kashmiri Gate ISBT.

 
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