Hyderabad: Children begging at traffic lights, playing on pavements, picking rag or working are a common sight in every metro city. Who are these children? A study conducted in Hyderabad came up with some shocking data. The streets of the city are home to more than 28,500 children and the boys far outnumber the girls.
The five-month survey that covered all 150 wards of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, found there were 61 per cent boys to 39 per cent girls.
The study, by non-profit Save The Children, categorised the children under three groups:
– Children who live alone on street without a family or adult blood relative.
– Children who work on streets or public places but return to their families.
– Children who live with their families on streets.
The second group, the study found, was a majority – 70 per cent of children work on the streets but return to their families after work. But 15 per cent of those families are homeless and live on the pavements.
About 3 per cent children live without any family or blood relative. The rest – 11 per cent – were those simply playing on the streets or accompanying parents to their work place. They are neither homeless nor working.
The study also found that 78.7 per cent of the children were from the villages of Telangana. Migrants from Andhra Pradesh accounted for another 12 per cent. There were migrants from Karnataka too, 2.35 per cent and faraway Rajasthan, 1.3 per cent.
The spots most favoured by the children were found to be public places like railway stations, bus stops, places of worship, spaces under the bridges/flyovers and children’s homes. Besides, many were found at construction sites, graveyards and dumping yards.
The study also found that most of the children were older – 41 per cent of them were below the age of 10.
Girls, the study said, are mostly engaged as domestic help or were found begging. The boys usually work as vendors or at roadside food stalls, or at construction sites. More than 16 per cent children work as rag-pickers.