Save child beggar
“5 years ago I had migrated from Bihar to Delhi. I used to go to the central park in Connaught place with my friends. Regularly we used to witness homeless children hitting the streets begging for money. I couldn’t help but feel the need to step down to their level and get to know them,” said Sahil Kaushar, the founder of Save Child Beggar.
Save child beggar is a non-governmental organization, established in 2016, working relentlessly towards the upliftment and empowerment of street children by providing them with education. This organization was the brainchild of a small but altruistic group of friends who believed that education could be a catalyst for change
"My friends and I thoroughly researched the problem of child beggary prevalent in different areas of Delhi. We found out that most of these children were homeless orphans who begged for money to earn a living. After 3 months of research, we had gathered enough data and knowledge about these children but we did not know how to go about this issue. Coming from a village in Bihar I had no expertise in social work. Regardless, I was firm about doing everything in my capacity to help these children. In the initial stages, we did not possess enough resources to aid these children financially. So we thought that the best way to help them would be by educating them. We began by interacting with these kids daily and establishing a rapport with them. Once they were comfortable around us, we asked them to come with us to study for just an hour every day. We started these classes in Palika Bazaar, Delhi. We were using social media as a means to spread awareness about our initiatives. Through social media, the locals came to know about our work and came forward as volunteers. With time and with the efforts of our volunteers, more and more children came to us and as a result, we were able to expand these classes up to 18 centers in Delhi-NCR ", shares Sahil.
Save Child Beggar has seen tremendous growth over the years. The organization has expanded its endeavors to support children struggling with drug addiction as well, connecting such children to rehabilitation centers and enrolling them for counselling sessions to facilitate an effective de-addiction process. However, this success didn’t come easy.
While sharing with us the hurdles they faced in their journey, Sahil explains, "One of the major problems we faced was the lack of a proper shelter where we could teach the kids. Since we did not have a lot of resources in our hands, we had to take our classes in the open. Often inclement weather conditions like heavy rains and extreme winters would act as impediments. Nevertheless, these open classes were instrumental in making the children feel relaxed. By not being confined to four walls, they felt liberated and comfortable. Eventually, we shifted to roadside sheds, slums and metro stations to fix the inherent issue of shelters. Other than that, the administration and the police were not very supportive in the initial days but gradually, we were able to gain their support as well. Presently, COVID-19 pandemic has become a major roadblock for us."
The pandemic has put the organization's education drive on a standstill but "stop" is not a word in this organization's lexicon. Even in such turbulent times, Sahil and his team have been laboring selflessly to provide these children with two square meals.
"The countrywide lock-down concomitant to the pandemic had a drastic effect on the street children. These children were either earning a livelihood by selling things like balloons and bangles or were completely dependent on begging and rag picking. Since people are not taking to the streets now there is no one to buy commodities sold by these kids and as a result, they are not earning any money. This further disables these kids from buying ration to sustain themselves. Even if they had the money to buy ration, they don’t have a place to cook and neither are restaurants functional. Therefore access to ration was a big problem for the street children. Hence, we took it upon ourselves to provide these kids with meals. We arranged for passes to move back and forth during the lock-down. As a precaution we got the children tested too. Fortunately, they haven't been exposed to the lethal virus so far."
Over five years, Save Child Beggar has impacted the lives of countless homeless children.
In 2018, the Prime Minister of India Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi had acknowledged this imminent organization’s contribution towards transforming the lives of the underprivileged.
Currently the organization is trying to instate virtual classes for its students. Even in the face of the pandemic induced difficulties the entire team of Save Child Beggar hopes to perform to the fullest of their abilities to aid the street children and ensure them a better future.