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TNN | Feb 6, 2014, 03.35 AM IST
RANCHI: In a torn white dress which has turned brown because of dirt, clutching an old plastic bag an eight-year-old Leela was found looking busily for discarded boxes and plastic bottles inside a big garbage bin. If she found some of the items she was looking for then she would sell them and earn money to buy that day's meal.
Leela doesn't harbour a dream to study and grow up to become somebody. She would have loved to be able to lead a life like privileged children her age. But her everyday struggle for food has made her too pragmatic for her age. "I want to go to school. But how can I? I don't have money and if I attend classes how will I earn money? Then what will I eat?" she asked.
To help these street children get their basic rights like food, lodging and education, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), Delhi will launch a special project Street to School. The project will be launched in the state by Jharkhand State Commission for Child Rights (JSCPCR) on March 5.
JSCPCR member, Sanjay Mishra, said, "The commission along with various stakeholders like government departments such as HRD, social welfare and various NGOs will work together to make the lives of street children better." He added, "There are many children who spend their lives on streets and have nobody to take care of them. Our project will focus on such children and will connect them to mainstream education."
The programme will focus on four cities in the state – Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bokaro and Dhanbad as most slum dwellers are found in these places. "We will identify children from slum areas and will create a database. Then we will admit them to various residential schools in their cities. As there are not many government residential schools in the state, we are planning to increase the capacity of the existing schools," said Mishra.
The commission will also approach various private companies and schools and ask them to contribute for the project under corporate social responsibility. "We will be writing to all the private companies and ask them to provide books, clothes and other necessary items for these children under CSR activities," Mishra said.
The responsibility of preparing a blueprint for the project has been given to students of Indian Institute of Management, Ranchi. "Two students of IIM-R are preparing the blueprint of the programme and it will likely be done by the time the project is launched," said Mishra.