Read about the declaration of Team India Tigers (Karunalaya) from the 2023 Street Child Cricket World Cup.
At the Street Child Cricket World Cup in September 2023, young people participated in a youth congress and represented their countries in the international cricket competition.
Each team worked to prepare their own Declaration, focusing on the issues most affecting street children in their country. Karunalaya’s team were named the Team India Tigers. Read on for the Declaration they produced.
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Declaration of Team India Tigers
Street Child Cricket World Cup, Chennai, India 2023
Team India Tigers, young people from Chennai, India, declare that the Government should:
- protect all children from abuse and violence,
- provide a safe shelter, access to equal and quality school education and higher education in English,
- simplify the process for getting ID,
- respect the opinions of children in decision-making.
Children should be allowed to be children
There are no safe spaces for street children. Children are exposed to many harmful issues, such as being scolded at school, child labour, abuse at home, adults using drugs and alcohol around them and using children to buy drugs, the risk of trafficking and adults videoing children when they bathe as they do not have access to a private bathroom.
The root cause is that children are being trafficked for child labour, or their parents are using drugs and alcohol and not treating them right, so they run away and become street children. As a result, they are discriminated against in school and by wider society.
We, as children, are sensitive and it is damaging when people are violent to us. Every child has a goal. Abusive behaviour is destroying children’s goals. We need to be respected as equal citizens and protected by law.
We have a voice, let’s use it!
There is no gender equality in society and sports. The Government should give more opportunities for street children in sports events, education and industry. There are also fewer opportunities for women and girls.
Street children, particularly girls, are not listened to or included in decision-making because women are not considered equal to men in society. Women get married before finishing their education, so they have less access to opportunities. We have to rely on NGOs like Karunalaya to access otherwise unavailable opportunities for street children.
The Government should listen to the children’s voices and include them in decision-making in society. We want street children to have equal opportunities. The first step should be sports. The Government should provide funding and facilities for everyone of all genders to participate in sports, education (including in English) and other activities to the same standard as private schools.
No ID, no future
There is no simple process for street children to get their birth certificates and IDs. This prevents children from enrolling in school as they need ID. Our options are limited in life because you need an address to get an ID and the process is too expensive.
NGOs like Karunalaya help street people get identity documents, but they can’t solve this issue alone. We have engaged with some Government officials who now understand the importance of this issue. We have managed to get some community certificates for children and enrol them in high school — but it’s not easy. We encourage the Government to distribute a survey to see who has their ID and grant IDs for free to those who don’t.
I Am Somebody.
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After the competition, the teams returned home with the declarations they’d produced. Karunalaya has a long history of centring the voices of children and young people in their advocacy work.
The team shared their Declaration with Chennai’s local media and government officials and plans to use it in their ongoing advocacy for children’s rights.