Islamabad: Government should conduct fresh survey to determine the number of street children to chalk out an effective strategy to transform them into responsible and productive citizens, an educationist said Friday.
Dr Naeem Ghani, said that thirty seven per cent of the total population of 180 million are less than 14 years of age while half of these children have never attended any school.Speaking to media persons, he said that the statistics about street children have not been updated by any national agency since long while the initiatives for their rehabilitation left much to be desired.
The number of such children, an untapped human resource, must have been increased due to rising population and depressing socio-economic conditions, said Dr Naeem Gani. He said that street children are a major and permanent threat to our national security and prosperity which is yet to be realised. He said that recently inaugurated Justice Yousaf Saraf Centre for Research and Rehabilitation at Sultana Foundation, Dr Naeem Ghani said that social development is only possible through human development and education is the prerequisite for it.
Dr Ghani said that a pilot project has been initiated for mainstreaming street children while a survey is being conducted in the neighbouring localities as demographic statistics can make any programme successful.He informed that the centre is being built at the cost of Rs 16 million and additional aid of Rs 50 million announced by the Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will go a long way in improving lives of the neglected children.He said that about 170,000 vulnerable children live on the streets across the country; illiterate, uneducated and most without family, they grow into seasoned criminals, drug addicts or fall prey to militancy.
Many organisations lack innovative tools to help our street kids learn to support them and make safe and healthy decisions that positively impact their lives, he added.
Dr. Ghani called upon the government and private institutions to help underclass with sustainable opportunities to earn a respectable living otherwise their future will be shaped by streets, dumps, criminals and militants.