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Surviving the Streets in India- The Invisibles

Campaign by Save The Children

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Research has shown that over 2 million children, living on the streets of India, live a life deprived of the most basic rights and in appalling poverty. Of these, 80% of these children, have no form of a legal identity document, denying them access to social entitlements initiated by the State and Central Government such as free and compulsory education, health insurance and skill development. As a consequence of these alarming statistics, more than 69% of children on the streets are working and 80% of their earnings are spent on buying food.

With the exception of the National Census conducted every 10 years, children in street situations find no place in national-level policies, laws, programs, and budgetary allocations. Instead, children in street situations are covered, in India, under the category of vulnerable groups in need of care and protection. Haphazard urbanization in India has completely overlooked the basic needs of children in street situations, including education, health, nutrition, shelter, food, and safeguards from child labor.

The lack of convergence and coordination between various government departments also plays a crucial role in the inability to access social protection schemes established for the marginalized and children in need of care and protection.

Save the Children India will:

  1. Initiate mapping exercises to identify and list children living in street situations in 10 cities.
  2. Link children in street situations with an identity document
  3. Facilitate linkages for children in street situations by linking them with various Government and social protection schemes such as enrolment in Anganwadi Centres, enrolment in formal schools, linking children with health services and skill development, facilitating in the opening of bank accounts.
  4. Strengthen inter-stakeholder capacity and government child protection mechanisms to ensure the care and protection of children in street situations.
  5. Equip transit homes with child-friendly elements in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh (one per city) as a model of care and protection services for children in street conditions for the government to adopt and scale-up.


  1. An Education - Without an identity document, children are not able to enrol in government schools. This will change as those below 16yrs will be mainstreamed into formal education. The intervention will also train relevant partners on how to address the needs of the marginalized children who now have access to government schools, and monitor the provision of special training such that the children who have never accessed school can catch up.
  2. Healthcare – Children will now be able to access health insurance schemes which will in turn throw open the whole range of healthcare services
  3. Financial Inclusion – The provision of opening a bank account for those above the age of 10 years would become a reality, leading to financial inclusion and the practice of saving.
  4. Employment and Upskilling – Children will have access to government schemes that ensure upskilling of youth as well as employment opportunities, thereby a life off the street.
Save The Children

Save The Children

Beneficiary Charity

Deepika Radhu

Deepika Radhu


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