Lara Shankar – India

Linked with India: Homeless Street Children, and with Children’s Rights and You CRY.
Added Dec. 4, 2008: and linked with Shabana Azmi – India.

Lara Shankar is a social worker and child-rights activist who has spent over five years working with street children and addressing issues concerning children and their rights. After completing her master’s in child development from Lady Irwin College, Delhi University, Lara has worked with several organizations, including Salaam Baalak Trust, Butterflies, Youthreach, Childline India Foundation and Child Rights and You (CRY) in Delhi and Mumbai. She continues to research, document and fight for the realization of child rights. Lara Shankar lives in Mumbai with her husband, Manu Chandra, a strategy and management consultant. (Penguin books India), presenting her book: Midway Station: Real-Life Stories of Homeless Children, Oktober 2006; (also on allBookstores.com; on flipkart.com online; and on amazon).

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Sorry, no photo found for Lara Shankar, India (… and no other text found about her bio and work than her book’s presentation. Despite this, I want her work to be acknowledged.
More down you may find some more NGOs and articles regarding Street Children in India)
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She writes: … The Juvenile Justice System in India claims to exist for the care, protection, rehabilitation and development of neglected and delinquent children. Children who are without homes must derive good from this system and find a place where they feel safe, protected and cared for. However, inspite of these noble intentions, the children feel anything but benefited. More often than not, they are forcibly brought to these socalled ‘homes’ and the general feeling among them is that they have been ‘caught’ and put into ‘jails’. They recall being beaten, held by the neck and taken to juvenile welfare courts, without being given any explanation. “When the hearing for children takes place at the children’s courts, the magistrate asks us if we have anything to say. But they do all the proceedings in English and then they just take us out of the room. We do not get a chance to speak,” claimed a 14-year-old boy living in an observation home … (full text in Voices of the Future, not dated).

There are millions of children in India today who spend their childhood on the streets, in railway stations and jail-like shelters, living on the edge and taking each day as it comes. Some have been abandoned; others have chosen to run away from harsher realities at home; yet others have been born on the streets and know no other life. In Midway Station child-rights activist Lara Shankar records the voices of eleven such children living in shelters in Delhi. We meet, among others, Mohan, who hopped on to a train in Chennai when he was four to escape from his stepmother; Allam, who sends money to his mother whenever he can and visits her in Bihar during Id; and Rani, who thinks life in the shelter is too comfortable and looks back with nostalgia on her days as a domestic servant. What emerges from these narratives is a nightmarish world of poverty and neglect, rape and murder, Mafiosi-like gangs and police brutality. Yet there are redemptive stories of courage too, of friendships made and kindnesses repaid. Poignant and hard-hitting, these real-life stories of homeless children are testimony to their resilience in the face of adversity, their will to carry on and determination to build a life of dignity. ‘The author discovers a world most of us close our eyes to. It is the world of homeless children living rootless, incomplete lives. Midway Station is a work of care and concern and an effort to make all of us think of the invisible and underprivileged child, who is also the face of tomorrow’s India.’ -Shabana Azmi, actor and social worker … (on sifyMall). Same on book4u.in;

Street Children in India – some NGOs and articles:

links:

the Google download book: Semiotic Rotations, By Sunhee Kim Gertz, Jaan Valsiner, Jean-Paul Breaux, 2007, 218 pages;

HIV Prevention among street children in India: Lessons learned, July 7-12, 2002.

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