"SOUTHERN NEWS – ANDHRA PRADESH
Sunday October 1 2006 10:21 IST
GUNTUR: The city is turning into a safe haven for street children, studies by Non Governmental Organisations revealed. Many children growing in deprived families have made the city their home and have been leading precarious lives fraught with danger.
Crowded railway junctions, street corners and cinema theatres have become their temporary homes. However, what is alarming is the fact that many of them were becoming drug addicts, some of them using disposed syringes or injecting drugs, ignorant of the fatal consequences and placing them in the HIV/AIDS high risk group. Easy and cheaply available sedatives like the ‘white eraser’ were being used widely by these children.
‘‘The number of such children living in city has multiplied and about 400 children are here,’’ says a staffer of Veera Hanuman Youth Association, a voluntary organisation working with street children. Most of them were reaching the town through trains.
Each child has a tale to tell. For instance, Mokkulu Rajendra Kumar (12) lost his parents in a road accident at Gudiwada four months back. Since then, he has been eking out a livelihood here by collecting waste paper.
The city has four shelter homes to look after the street children. The organisers of the homes say that the number of street children frequenting their homes has multiplied.
Organisations like, Navajeevan Bal Bhavan, street children home, have been working for the rehabilitation of these children.
DSP M Ravindranath Babu blamed the visual media for glorifying the runaway kids as heroes and said that many of the kids try to imitate the screen heroes and land up in the mess."