31 MARCH 2005



India: Street kids beg to differ

He keeps a respectful distance from the traffic, trying not to attract attention. His head is bent, his fingers nimbly adjust his 努ound a bandage wrapped round his forearm. It is a work of art and ingenuity invention born out of an instinct to survive. The bandaged 努ound is meant to evoke pity and, if lucky, earn some money from commuters as they wait for the traffic signals to change.

Meet Gopal one of the many children poised at some of the city痴 traffic light junctions with 澱urnt arms. Gopal claims to have seen twelve winters but his tiny frame suggests otherwise. Reluctantly, he agrees to take a break and even more reluctantly admits that the burns are fake. 的t is part of business, he states matter-of-factly. 徹nce a plan works, it is exploited till there is no further scope.
The surface of the bandage is carefully wrapped with what looks like sauce or chutney mixed with corn or some other semi-solid foodstuff, layered with a generous hand.

At Nehru Place, there are five young children sporting 澱urns. What about competition? 展e scatter about in different directions. The people I approach usually cannot see the rest of the group. Locals may be aware of the fake burns but not outsiders, Gopal says, his eyes fixed on the road.

The recipe of the 澱urn is a secret he refuses to reveal. 展hy bother, says 15-year-old Gumti. 典his fad will change. We have to keep reinventing ourselves all the time, she says, adding finishing touches to her 澱urn.

They scamper off in different directions 電ressed to eke out a living.

Monica Sood,0087.htm


South Africa: Street kids get ID books 26/03/2005 21:40 - (SA)

Home Affairs deputy minister Malusi Gigaba handed 240 identity documents over to street children in Johannesburg on Saturday as part of government's goal to get them off the streets. Gauteng social development MEC Bob Mabaso told Sapa the government wanted the children to realise the immense opportunities available to them. He said not having an ID or birth certificate limited their chances of accessing social grants or getting employment.

"We believe that everyone who is entitled to a grant must access the grants." He also said: "If we leave the children on the streets, the drug dealers will use them. When you see them in the streets and then later see them being rehabilitated, you see that they are a treasure. It's just been a great day seeing our children who have changed drastically through the government's rehabilitation programme. It's unbelievable.  The long queues are a symbol that they are longing for a better life for themselves." He said although many businesses had offered employment to rehabilitated and trained street children, more needed to get involved.

Social development spokesman Sam Muofhe said about two thousand people were present, including members of the Gauteng provincial government and various municipalities.

A month ago, the government removed a number of children from the streets and placed them at Van Ryn Place of Safety in Benoni, Magaliespoort and Pretoria. They were being rehabilitated and trained through a joint programme by the department of labour, transport and public works.

"We anticipate that some will be completing the skills development training in the next two months," he said. "As government, we are trying to say to them, that it is not enough to get an ID document, that they need to be rehabilitated back into society so that they can become employable." He said the government would continue issuing IDs to street children next week as Saturday's queues were too long.

"This process will continue until we get all children on grants or employable. This will definitely decrease the number of children on the streets," he said. Home Affairs would encourage other provinces to do the same.,,2-7-1442_1681364,00.html

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