“Mom and dad only send us to beg and bring money”: Child Beggars
Vadodara, January 18, 2018: Child beggars have increased in the society and should now be looked upon as the parents who are responsible for the nourishment of children are themselves sending them for begging and bringing money at home.
“My name is Shiv. I am 12 years old and I have a sister of 9 years old. We beg daily from morning to evening and then we go back home at night. My dad is addicted to alcohol and my mom doesn’t care much about us.” Said one of the child beggars. Shiv said that his place for begging was fixed and he never thought about changing it because he used to earn the highest amount of money from that particular area. Continuing he said,” I have no shame in begging because my mom told me that it is okay to beg in families like ours. I don’t understand much about whatever she talks but many a times, she cries a lot and my father doesn’t even look at her.”
Raju, a 13 year old kid, who begs daily and stays with Shiv said that,” I and Shiv are always together and we beg daily. Begging is the only thing we know because that is the only thing which our parents tell us to do. My parents and Shiv’s parents stay near only and hence we always stick together. But we never stay together while begging so that we can earn more because people either sometimes buy us food then usually they buy only one product therefore we go turn by turn so that we can get equal things.” Raju even drinks bidi and wishes to drink alcohol because of his dad. He said that he also wants to try whatever his father drinks because whenever he drinks that he never scolds him.
Divya, a girl living in the same colony where Shiv and Raju live (in the protection of Shiv’s parents), said,” I like to play with Shiv and he takes me every day to beg with him. People many a times don’t give money to Shiv but they give money to me and I always tease him saying that. I never saw my parents and I know that because Shiv usually keeps saying that I was found on the road of colony. I don’t think much about my parents because whenever I see Shiv’s parents fighting, I don’t like it.” Divya has, several times, tried to run away from Shiv’s home because of violence done at her by Shiv’s father but ultimately used to come back because of nowhere else to go.
Child beggars have created groups in city in different areas. When asked about schooling, children said the same thing that they also wish to go to school in uniform and have fun in vehicles but when they ask about their schooling to the parents, the parents reply negatively saying that schooling is not meant for them and that they should keep begging only. Usually, a bunch of child beggars seen together live in a same colony or building or in a same area and daily beg on the commands of their parents and never raised a voice against it because of their unknown rights and domestic violence.