This chapter to focusing on characterization of the run-away children like on the basis of their activity work at platform, income, available support, reason of run away, their family background, and analyzing their reason of run away and related things.
2.2 Characterizing the runaway children
Yardstick used to characterize the run-away children is based on their age, sex, how many times they run away, their parental care at their home, their work at their home and on the platform, their living condition on platform, how they are living in platform etc. based on the sample taken, observation and other process of the study.
2.3 Age of the child
Sample of the study restricted up to 6-15, but later at the location some more children added those who are more than age group of 15 but less than 18. Hence NGO working for run away children also considering the age group up to 18 and also we added as per the requirement to add children up to age group of 18. The age group ratio we found on the railway station is as below in table:
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Available data is clearly showing the status of run-away children; the most them are belongs to the age group of 11-14. Where very less belongs to the age group of 15-18. And the second lessor one from the age group less than age group of less than 10. And that seems more probably due to that they are very small to run away from home or from work place or form any respected place. Another lowest one belongs from the age group of 15-18, mainly due to during the age in case of boy they being mature and they moving from the platform for different work to somewhere else. And in case of girl we don¿½t have much information but as from discussion it comes out that brokers are very active as well girls are more vulnerable belongs from these age group.
2.4 Samples separated by Girls and Boys (primary data, N=53)
Firstly our sample is biased to tell about run away children on platform based on their sex. Due to permission problem we didn¿½t get opportunity to have girl sample. But with help of SATHI we had taken only 25% sample of girl among total number of sample. But through the observation also it was very clear those girls are living very less on the platform. As per the available secondary data from SATHI, it shows that about 33.33% children are girl among all run away.
2.5 Religion of the child
Religion of children doesn¿½t made any to sense to say that children are run away because they are belongs to XYZ community. But as per sample taken 37 children are Hindu; 13 Muslims; 3 Christians; and 1 Sikh. And according to the CWC secondary data Hindu- 71%, Muslims 14%, Christian 13% and others 2 %.( source: primary data)
2.6 Status of children before run away
It is necessary to explore about the run-away children what they were doing before running away. Whether they are studying, working or doing nothing means not studying and not working.
Children what do they were doing before they run away? Definitely it is making one sense; it may be a cause for run-away the children. Like children those who were going to school they may have problem to getting into stress because they might disliking to go school. Similarly they might have fear of teacher. Similarly as children those who were working can run away due to exploitation at the work place. In some of the cases children runaway because they sent by their parents for work and they are getting exploited at the workplace in such condition they cannot think to go back and cannot work too. Such kinds of situation also forcing to run away.
One thing I noticed common in run-away children is their confidence may be that also one factor because of that they rebel from the situation and run away. We also got cases of sexual exploitation but it ware seldom for male but it was more in case of girl at their respected work place nothing surprising.
2.7 Times of run away
Basically run away children comes into two type 1) Habitual run away 2) Fresher; those run away first time. As per the sample 66% children are first time runaway. Habitual children basically having psychological problem. Like in few cases children away several times. Not only from their house or workplace they are running away from anywhere.
Among the habitual children some of them are liking platform life so much, even they don¿½t want to go back their home. Usually NGOs working for the platform children are conducting rehabitation camp. After the camp most of the children are getting rehabitated. But old children don¿½t want to attain camp even they don¿½t like to go with such kind of process of the NGO. Besides they are taking opportunity of such facility available for them like shelter and food.
The problem not much complicated for those who run away first time but here around 44% children are runaway more than one time, May be because they like the platform life.
Some cases also there where children are living on the platform because they don¿½t know the way to go back, and children those who run away several times cannot go back because they rejected by the family several times.
2.8 Status of Family
Children are running away one of the reason due to the parental care. We got the same result through the primary and secondary data. Through the sample we got from total run away, 32.5% boy are orphan; And among all orphan 14% not having father and mother. 31.25% without mother and 56.25 are without father.
At home children without mother and father, feels so lonely, no body taking care of them as father and mother. Once they run away they don¿½t wanted to back. And also we found the similar cases among those not having either mother or father.
2.9 Contact with family
We have assumptions that run away children means they wouldn¿½t have any contact from the family. But it wasn¿½t true. Habitual run away children those who are finally settled on platform few of them having contact with their family. Some children having contact with them. Some of the children sending money to their house also. Hence after spending necessary amount of money on their need. They wouldn¿½t have anything thing to do. In some cases we found that children sent money to their house upto Rs. 5000. During the study it comes out 3.77% family having contact with their family. We also found some cases in which children going back in bad weather (like extreme cold) they are used to go their home.
Discussion with habitual child having contact with family
The child front in photo, we meet several time with him throughout the month. Child is habitual to live in platform, and don¿½t wanted to go back their home. He knows properly way of their home. After asking the children why you don¿½t want to go your home. He replied ¿½my family don¿½t like me¿½ during the discussion he also explained he sent Rs. 5000 to their family last month (March 2012). We asked ¿½Why? If they don¿½t like you? He replied by being irritating ¿½not for my mother and father, I sent that for my sister, her hand was broken when she fallen down¿½. I again asked do you visiting your home sometime? He replied yes! Sometimes too meet my sister…
2.10 Reason for the run away
There are several reasons that may be responsible to run away a children like both psychological and non-psychological. That discussed as below:
2.10.1 Psychological reason
In government home through the participatory observation, it came out that so many children are running away due to their psychological reason. They can run away even because of very small reason. Like one boy we found in the government home who run away only due to their parents not allowed him to fly the kites and also to restrict the child they beaten also. Child rebelled against their family and run away. And similar so many cases exist because of the children run away. Some other cases like attraction to go city, dream to earn more money and be a rich person, become more confident and having dream to achieve anything. We also observed some children those who rebelled even in SATHI camp. And also they not getting into control easily.
2.10.2 Non-psychological reason
Apart from the psychological reason there are so many non-psychological problems are there because of that children are running away. Like family related problem, physical abuse, sexual abuse, road side dwellers, work related problem, uncaring family, and fear after doing something wrong. From the sample taken and discussion with children following the comes out; see below the table:
Figure 7: Reasons of runaway (source: primary data)
Also in case of so many children, sometimes one problem may cases of runaway the children and sometimes combination of more than one problem. Like in case of Ismayl he is eldest son in their family. His father and mother bother were suffering from dieses as well they credit on their head that also due to the treatment. To overcome from loan and take care of family his mother sent him for work. For the sake of their family he started to work but later he mingle with the plateform life as well as so much stress due to family and at work place; he left out the place and reached out to New Delhi railway station.
Similarly, child having problem like so much family problem; means fight within the family, physical abuse, alcoholic and abuse, parental care like having step mother or step father, illicit relationship among mother and father, insufficient income of the family that forces them to send their children to work on platform.
Another problem are like due to peer. We found few cases where children were run away only because of Peer Company. And also in some cases they wanted to visit city and getting support of their friend also pulled them to go out.