ABIR Child Safety and Development
UNICEF defines street children as „who is of the street and on the street‟ (Aktar, 2004), that means who works all day in the street pass their time during the day and go back to the family at night for sleep are children on the street and those children that work, pass time and sleep on street are children of the street. However, children living, working and passing their times in streets with or without parents is called street children. These floating children usually eat, sleep and work on the street generally live in one place and sometimes move to other place. Most of the cities in Bangladesh are overcrowded with unlawful occupant slums, pavement dwellings etc. Increasing rural poverty and corresponding urban migration continue to increase the number of people in urban slums and on the streets. Moreover, rural unemployment, landlessness, river erosion, natural disasters, family conflicts and weak law and order force people to be homeless and come for better prospects in the urban centers. This movement contributes to the disintegration of traditional family and community structures and results in an increasing number of children being exposed to deprivation and abuse in urban areas. Children living on the streets fall into several categories, often related to the socio-economic conditions that led to their situation. Many children live with their families, either on the streets or in slums. Other children live on their own because they have been either abandoned by their parents or are orphans and end up living & working alone on the streets. Most cities in Bangladesh have witnessed a phenomenal growth of abandoned children living on the street over the last three decades. According to a research , in 2004 the number of street children was 679,728; in 2014 the number grew up to 1,144,754 and in 2024 the number will be around 1,615,330 (‘Estimation of the size of street children and their protection for major urban areas of Bangladesh 2004’ commissioned by BIDS by ARISE).
Children living on the streets suffer from struggle for survival, engage themselves in odd jobs in the informal sector, and get an income which is not even sufficient to run their life. These children lead a life which is neglected, exploited, ill-treated, distrusted, and physically violated. They witness crime from a close distance and often get involved with the dark world beyond their control. These children need to be rehabilitated in a proper place where they will be provided with cordial environment and institutional guidance to grow up as an able member of the society.
Their needs are neglected and their rights are violated at all levels. Street children not only face denial of basic rights viz. safe shelter, food, health care, safe drinking water and sanitation, education, information, guidance, security, recreation, but also subject to many risks and different forms of exploitation i.e. child labour, physical torture, sexual abuse, HIV/AIDS, and trafficking. ACD is looking at the issue in a holistic manner committed to improve the situation of street children through formulating an appropriate policy and implementing IDP-MVDSC project to protect them.
ACD with its long experience and expertise in working with street children, has conceived the idea of developing a “Children Rehabilitation Center” with the objective of rehabilitating these children and allowing them to grow within an enabling environment where they can unleash their latent social energy and exhibit their potentials and creativity. The ACD “Children Rehabilitation Center”, implemented under the project entitled “Integrated Development Program for Most Vulnerable and Disadvantaged Street Children (IDP-MVDSC)”, has started its operation. Under this project children are provided with basic education which will continue up to secondary level and concurrently they will be provided with trade based skill training followed by job placement, self-employment support, rehabilitation and social integration. ACD “Children Rehabilitation Center”’s philosophy is to provide support to homeless, deserted children for their holistic development through education and vocational skills training within a residential campus ensuring community participation. ACD “Children Rehabilitation Center” believes that each child is unique and each child should be given the opportunity to fulfill his or her dream. ACD “Children Rehabilitation Center” intends to provide protection, participation, development and rehabilitation support based on child rights, because every child deserves a childhood.
To ensure social and economic security of helpless, poor and distressed street children.
To help the enrolled children of ACD “Children Rehabilitation Center” to grow with their in-born potentials and merits
through education and training on different trades.
To develop necessary infrastructure and support facilities for ACD
To provide the children food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, formal education up to Secondary School Certificate (SSC) level.
To provide life skills and livelihood skills training on different trades for self-employment and wage earning.
To motivate to change their attitude and mind set towards high level of moral values and lifestyle to become most worth, responsible and disciplined citizens of the country.