Bhubaneswar: Odisha, it hurts. A majority (57%) of street children in the state are deprived of their right to free and compulsory. Besides, almost half (47%) of these kids living in Odisha cities are neither identified nor rehabilitated.
The grim statistics were reported in a new survey by the OSCPCR (Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights). It was conducted in five cities — Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri, Rourkela and Berhampur — in association with UNICEF and Save the Children organisation.
The study aimed to understand the status of street children in urban Odisha during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other findings, the rapid assessment survey reported:
87% Don’t Have Soap, Mask
As many as 87% of the sample children were aware of COVID-19 related preventive measures like social distancing, mask use and washing hands with soap. Unfortunately, they don’t have mask or soap to follow the norms.
56% Search For Secure Shelter
Around 56% of the children surveyed reported that they have shifted their living place for more than once in search of a secure shelter.
37% Kids Undernourished
Around 37% of the children were observed to be thin as per their age and suspected to have been undernourished. Similarly, 5% were suspected to be suffering from stunted growth as they were found to have short height in accordance with their age.
17% Exposed To Exploitation
Around 17% children in cities are living alone in unsafe places and are exposed to various kinds of exploitation.
The survey also informed that the street children surveyed were engaged as daily wagers, rag pickers, beggars, domestic help and vendors. The family income of these children ranges between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 per month, according to a report in The Times of India.