We are Dream India2020 and Samidha - NGOs working for various social causes, and we are jointly organizing an event called the Anti Child-Begging Campaign.
Suraj (name changed), is an 8 year old boy living in a slum near Hadapsar, Pune, who spends his entire day on the streets of Camp area in Pune, begging for money to earn a day's meal for his family. Smart and talented, he uses his acquired English-speaking skills to con you into believing that he is polishing shoes for studying. Moved by his story, you reach out for a big note, trying to help a young, enterprising kid realize his dream. You leave happy in the knowledge that you have probably done a good deed and earned your karmic bonus.
The reality: Over 10 million children like Suraj in India, beg and live a miserable life day after day after day. This journey starts right from the age of six months when their mothers carry them around, begging. These children grow up fast, become independent by the time they are six years old, and often get lured by the charm of easy money. Tobacco, gambling, pick-pocketing, and petty thefts are a part of their childhood. Child beggars involved in criminal activities pose a serious threat to social security, not to mention the very moral fabric of society. Unknowingly, common people like us promote child begging by giving alms to children at traffic-signals, road-sides and in public places. The situation is worsening every passing day, and it might soon reach epidemic proportions if nothing has done to check it.
So, we are taking a small step to spread awareness among citizens against child-begging. On the 15th and 16th of November 2008, our volunteers, partner organizations, and supporters will gather on the streets of Pune and appeal to people to curb their natural response of giving alms to child beggars. Instead, we humbly request you to contact and support the numerous Government agencies, Welfare Committees, NGOs and institutions working for such children. Our campaign wishes to support their role in giving these children a chance to get off the streets, to get a decent education, and to live a life with dignity and self-respect which they might never know unless we help.
We shall be putting up information counters and we shall engage in one-on-one discussions with people on the child begging issue, at various locations spanning Pune. Through these efforts, our volunteers would like to meet people, and get their views on how we could prevent child begging. We appeal to citizens to visit the nearest campaign site, to support us in this mission of making things better for children on the streets.
Please remember: Money cannot buy absolution, forgiveness, or provide a proper upbringing but helping any organization which can do that, just might.
Looking forward to your support and participation.