Incidin Bangladesh, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), yesterday urged the government to ensure adequate allocation in the national budget to establish safe night-shelter for street children.
Addressing a news conference at the Dhaka Reporters Unity, Ratan Sarkar, executive director of Incidin Bangladesh, said poverty, natural disasters, river erosion, flood, famine and rising water level affect most of the children of poor and marginalised families.
A large number of children are driven to the capital city and other towns for their survival as they face immense suffering due to broken family and natural calamities and take shelters in the streets in different cities and towns, including Dhaka and Chittagong.
"It is impossible to figure out accurate number but it is assumed that about two million children are living in the streets", Ratan Sarker said, quoting the report of government’s Arise Project 2002 and the United Nations.
Although there are different government and non-government initiatives and programmes for the welfare of street children, but these are not enough, he said.
Ratan said due to lack of resources and skills, the area of activity to ensure safe night for the street children could not be achieved yet up to the required level.
Underlining the importance of government’s intervention, he said the government must play a vital role in ensuring safe night for street children.
Emphasising the need for initiatives in resolving painful scenario of street children for their food, shelter, medicare and torture by the traffickers and sex abusers, he demanded the government’s active role to make positive changes in this regard.
He hoped that the government would create instances to ensure safe shelter for street children by making adequate allocation in the budget under the constitutional provision for ensuring rights of life and safety for all citizens.
Adequate budgetary allocation could be the introduction of the initiative of ensuring protection for the children and their safe night shelter, he added.
Referring to the budget proposal for 2007-2008 for the construction of 15,000 flats for poor and migrated slum-dwellers on government khas lands, he demanded inclusion of the issue of establishing shelter home for the street children in the proposed plan.
"Floating children and the children from detached families are part of the homeless people," he said.
Nasimul Ahsan Dipu, advocacy chief, Rakibul Hasan, project manager, Mushfiqur Rahman, project coordinator of Incidin Bangladesh, Hritu Das and Imran Ali were present in the news conference.