Street Children in Kolkata
It is estimated that there are at least 400,000 children living on the streets in India, 100,000 of which are thought to be in Kolkata. Many of the street children are orphans and are left to protect themselves and any younger siblings. Living on the streets is tough and some children resort to coping mechanisms such as alcohol, drugs and even prostitution. Living on the street often requires them to work 8-10 hours a day. Work may include reselling newspapers, working in roadside stalls or on construction sites, scavenging and begging. As a result, the majority of street children are very unlikely to ever receive any education.
Education for Street Children
Thankfully, there are organisations in Kolkata working to support these underprivileged children by providing them with the opportunity to go to school. These schools, unlike other Indian schools, do not charge for tuition as the children live in extreme poverty in slums or on the streets. At these schools, the children are washed, educated, loved, and fed a proper nutritional meal. They experience a safe and caring educational environment – they love school and thrive off learning and creativity. What these schools do for Kolkata’s poorest children is incredible. It changes lives and this is why Khushi Feet wants to support this work.
Footsteps to Freedom is our mission statement. We believe that a street child’s poverty and illiteracy can be overcome with good education. A good education will help them off the street and into a proper job when they are older, giving them their first footsteps to freedom.
Supporting the Street Schools
All the money Khushi Feet raises helps fund the education of children living in extreme poverty in Kolkata. Our fundraising pays for: resources such as food supplies, clothes and towels, education materials, books, medicine and sanitary products; running school buses; building extensions to school buildings; kitting out schools buildings with proper floors, doors, windows and furniture.
Khushi Feet currently support the Good News Childrens’ Education Mission – a non-profit making, charitable and philanthropic Christian organisation. The mission began in February, 1992, and now has 9 schools in the following areas of Kolkata: Daspara, Bhagabanpur, Malancha, Gobindopur, Pathersesh, Hatibagan, Tangra, Patkapara, Gopal Nagar and Gangajuara. About 3,000 children from kindergarten to the 9th grade are currently being taught in GNCEM schools.
“It is not beyond our power to create a world in which all children have access to a good education. Those who do not believe this have small imaginations.” Nelson Mandela