My year of further studies comes to a close this May; if I want that Uni Certificate I’m gonna have to submit a thesis. Call it my strength or weakness, I usually leave my work for the last minute as I am self-proclaimed to work best under stress. So, tomorrow is the last day that I have to put the ‘Black Book’ together and still a lot to do. When deciding what topic to pick I immediately knew it would be this coz there are only so many issues one can care about. Below is an intro to my topic so feel free to read, give feedback, suggestions, data, whatever 😛
Sometime ago, the articles floating around Social media about the ever-sleeping-child in the arms of beggars spiked my interest in street children. The article mentioned how children were bought, rented or abducted to be used as props and drugged or given alcohol so that they do not make a fuss while the person accompanying them could make some bucks, begging. It also went on to warn tourists to avoid giving child beggars money or resalable items, as they simply wouldn’t be allowed to keep them. Since then I’ve been very keen to know about such un-imaginable acts involving children, the little, innocent ones without proper representation and a say. Not just them, even young adolescents seem to be living, begging, wandering on their own in almost all parts of the country. Many of whom belong to begging rings/gangs.
I wana know, ‘What is their story? How did they end-up here? What happened to their parents and families?’ And the thought of digging deep into this worried me because poking around in a big racket like this could get anyone killed (probably has! And therefore, only seems to increase and not stop). But seeing children on streets begging, alone and in groups with more children always leaves me in a daze and with the want to help them. So my line of interest shifted a bit, I decided not to actually talk to the kids directly, at least not the elder, defensive ones, but rather to help make a difference, help others who have taken initiative and spread awareness. So ever since a friend, Shashank, co-founded an initiative, ‘Helping Faceless’, to help save these kids, I’ve been all in too.
Most of us know – In India, roughly 60,000 children disappear each year (according to official statistics, whereas some human rights groups estimate the actual number to be much higher), the project and app ‘Helping Faceless’ is built on Face Recognition technology and data analytics that aims to bring missing children back to their parents. I’m so glad that these bright minds thought of something as amazing as this. All you need to do is install the app, click a picture of a child in need and upload it to the app with details including location, day and date. This data is sent to a few NGO’s that check with missing children’s reports and help the child. Check out the app on the PlayStore and their Facebook page to help when you can. If you’d like to know, there’s a lot more about the nitty gritty of the app here.
Back to my part in all of this, I am compiling all related data/research to complete my study and help spread awareness regarding this much ignored but global issue that is very much prevalent and increasing in modern India. Once I’m done with my exams, I also plan to meet and work with an NGO to help and know more about their role in curbing this issue that requires specific attention from the government and other organizations. Since spreading awareness and getting more volunteers on board is key right now, why don’t you do your bit too? Try out the app, give feedback, share experiences and awareness!
Plus, don’t forget to Wish me luck! 🙂