At traffic signals in Delhi children hop from one vehicle to another asking for alms. Sometimes they are lucky to receive a few coins or the usual “eek! -- stay away” shriek. But rarely do privileged citizens bother to find out the condition of these children living under flyovers and bridges, except when the High Court orders the Delhi Government to build temporary shelters during the harsh winters.
Boys and girls on the streets are both vulnerable in their own way. According to a UNICEF study, the overall incidence of physical abuse among street children, either by family members or by others or both, was 66.8 per cent across the country. Of this, 54.62 per cent were boys and 45.38 per cent girls.
The camera arrests its focus on a couple of girl children, vulnerable even as they display a street smart impishness. According to another study most of those living on the streets in the Capital belong to the nomadic ‘Nat’ community. They survive performing jugglery and acrobatics, and sometimes hawk goods.
UNICEF estimates that there are 11 million street children. In Delhi itself there are about 100,000. A study in 2007 found that 67.5 per cent of them lived with their families on the roads. The challenge for the enforcing authority is what creative methods it can adopt to enrol the kids in schools.