We all take care of kids in best of our capacity, give them what they need as well as what they don’t really need but want from us. May it be the best school, clothes, toys, eating at star restaurants, frequent trips to VR gaming parlours, malls and what not. How many times have you really said NO to your kids for the things you think that makes them happy, but they would be ok even if they don’t get it…. Rarely right.
But it’s so heart breaking to know that as per UNICEF in 2016 India was home to over 30% of almost 385 million children living in extreme poverty, the highest in south Asia, according to a report by World Bank Group and UNICEF, ‘Ending Extreme Poverty: A Focus on Children.’ There are many risks to these children in terms of behavioural and emotional problems, which may include aggression, high level of stress, impulsiveness, getting along with other kids and many others.
The problem of child poverty is a global problem, about 15 million children in the United States – 21% of all children. These children live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, a measurement that has been shown to underestimate the needs of families.
Although India, with its population of 1.3 billion people, now has 5 percent of its population living in extreme poverty, according to the World Poverty Clock. Till last year May India has the most people living under extreme poverty, now Nigeria has replaced the position.
Last year on Children’s day when I was going with my son to attend a function of children’s day we stopped at a traffic light. That was my sons closest brush with poverty. He has his windows rolled down and a couple of poor kids came to him asking for food, money and some even selling some toys requesting him to buy it so that they can have food. He was so petrified, that he rolled up his windows and didn’t speak for some time. We generally keep biscuits and dry eatables in the car to give away or to consume, he gained some courage rolled his windows down and distributed all that he had to those kids. Then we spoke about who are these children, why aren’t they studying, why are the begging. The interest my son took in understanding and knowing more about them was mostly because they were same age. We had to do something and lead by example, good thing was one of my friends is part of an NGO we coordinated with those kids on that one particular traffic signal and got the NGO people to speak to the parents of the kids. The kids we aged between 4-14years. Most of them were living on the footpath or nearby slum.
Education and poverty are deeply connected, hence we thought of bringing some knowledge to these kids. Language is important factor in day to day living, however we planned on embarking financial knowledge to these kids including basic arithmetic. We organized 15 classes in a span of two months even took them to banks to show how it works, thanks to one of our friends who works with a bank and arrange for the visit. The power of numbers enabled these kids help there parents too in finances. One of the major worries these families had was, when the kids were in class there was a loss of income hence putting pressure on what they eat, hence we even organized for their one-time meal when they are studying. These classes gave us a satisfaction that we are doing our bit for giving back to the society, we were able to tech our kids the right thing. And as Aamir Khan says “Is desh ko badal ne ke liye do hi log kaafi hai, ek main aur ek aap”, “main tayyar hu kya aap tayyar hai?”