Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Put Your Blame On Me

I regularly teach at an NGO called Kousha Children Organization in Baharestan located in a very poor area of Tehran and I can never close my eyes on the things I see on the way. I see beggars, addicts and even the children who live on the street.

Street children are homeless children who live on the street in particular, those that are not taken care of by parents or other adults. Street children live in abandoned buildings, containers, automobiles, parks, or on the street itself. Tehran the largest city of IRAN has one of the highest rates of street children in the country.

There are significant numbers of children, Afghan and Iranian, working as street vendors in Tehran and other cities and not attending school because their parents are not able to pay the expenses. Recently the government representatives told the UN Committee on the Rights of the Children that there were less than 60 thousand street children in the country.

Working children, children living on the streets and children without complete personal documents, particularly refugee children with bi-national parents, have reduced access to schools. Recently Iranian parliament passed a law which prohibits undocumented children attending the schools or has to pay high tuition for them and it is concerned that many of these immigrants do not have steady income to pay for their children to go to schools. It is also concerned that refugee children are currently only being enrolled in schools if their parents have registered with the authorities as mentioned, and that the enrolment of refugee children comes from the pocket of these parents. In many places managed by NGOs such as Kousha Organization, based in downtown of Tehran, volunteers and teachers help immigrant kids to make them go to school even if they don't get any diploma from the government.

Tehran has 35,000 to 50,000 children forced by adults mostly parents or closed relative to live and beg on the street or to work as slave labourers in sweat shops. The death rate among street children is high. The cause of their deaths varies from malnutrition to diseases brought on by unsanitary conditions and the government is helpless fighting these criminal activities. Also the adults who exploit the children often train them for criminal activities, including selling illegal drugs and alcohol or providing them to others for sexual activities.

The majority of these children had run away from their homes to escape social pressures (because the parents lost jobs, addicted to drugs or involved in illegal activities).

Fortunately there are many Non-Governmental Organizations in Iran and they never hesitate to support any street child but unfortunately the system of their lives forces these children to go back to the streets and do everything except normal things that kids their age do. The child inside these kids is dead and who's to blame?

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