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Indian street children given an identity

20 May 2020, Impact of Our Work

Help for the two million who have no place to call home 

They wander the streets, sometimes selling, sometimes begging. At an age when they should be reading or playing with toys, there are two million Indian children living on the streets. 

There’s no childhood for these children. Although they have dreams and hopes like any other child, they’re forced to fight for their survival every day, with what little they can get to eat. A third of these children have faced abuse; 70% are forced into child labour. 

With India now in lockdown because of COVID-19, street children have borne the brunt of the restrictions. Struck with a sudden lack of funds, food, mobility and a home, it’s the children on the street who are exposed to some of the harshest realities.

But a little help can go a long way. By giving children identity documents they can be connected to government services and begin to access the rights they are entitled to. Giving a child an identity document – called Aadhar card in India – gives them not only an identity, but dignity in being seen, and hope for the future. It gives them the ability to enrol in school, to open bank accounts, and access scholarships and health care. 
 


Shalini, 10, with her Aadhar card

 

Making the invisibles visible 

Save the Children India has reached over 240,000 of these children in 10 cities and linked nearly 140,000 of them to government schemes. Photographer Vicky Roy, himself a former street child, captured some of the children’s stories for a digital photo exhibition that highlights just how valuable an identity can be. 

For every last child

Every child deserves an identity and to have a dream for their future. You are giving countless children around the world hope for a better and brighter future. Read the rest of their stories, and those of other street children around India at A Lens on The Invisibles by photographer Vicky Roy.

Photos: Vicky Roy / Save the Children

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