Stories about street children

Pakistan’s children are unsheltered, uneducated and uncared for

The Pakistani state treats its children with criminal neglect despite many laws and policies to protect them. The Constitution guarantees children between the ages of five and 16 the right to compulsory education; yet over six million children are out of school, and others in government and private schools receive a compromised education with little practical relevance to their lives. Pakistani labour laws, although ambivalent on what constitutes juvenility, are consistent on the fact that children should not work in hazardous occupations or long hours or at all if they are under the age of 12. Yet, children work long hours and in ...

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Preventing mosquito-borne diseases – Are you ready to #StopTheCount?

Anyone bitten by a mosquito knows what a nuisance they really are. The bites swell, they often itch for days and, if you are like me, you’ll scratch them over and over again till it becomes worse. However, mosquitoes can be dangerous as well, and it is important to understand the diseases they bring with themselves. Mosquitoes are the deadliest insect on the planet due to the diseases they transmit through their bites. Nobody wants to be a fear-monger but as per facts, a child dies from a mosquito-borne disease every minute. It has been two years since I have been involved in raising awareness ...

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There is more to us than extremism: 10 extraordinary Pakistanis of 2014

Pakistan isn’t an extraordinary country. But Pakistan is a country brimming with extraordinary people. They are not perfect – yet therein lies their beauty. Extraordinary Pakistanis don’t wait for a perfect opportunity, a perfect personality or a perfect external landscape to make an impact. This is the first insight we stumbled upon after interviewing extraordinary Pakistanis for a series of articles published on our website Extraordinary Pakistanis. Unlike the rest of us, extraordinary Pakistanis aren’t turned off by the problems plaguing this country. Where we see hopelessness, they see problems they can solve. Where we see a failed state, they ...

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Pakistan’s Hidden Shame: Exposing child sexual abuse and Pakistan’s ‘see no evil’ attitude

Pakistan’s Hidden Shame, a documentary exploring the widespread sexual abuse of children in the streets of Peshawar, is something one wishes every Pakistani would take time to watch, while imploring his or her own eyes to un-see it. The practice of ‘bachabazi’ (child prostitution), as it’s known around the country, is something most of us are aware of. It is an ignominious fact of life in Pakistan that has blended seamlessly among all the other facts we don’t like to talk about. The statistics are hair-raising. Of the estimated one and a half million street children in Pakistan, 90% have suffered sexual abuse. And for every 10 ...

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Not her fault

I saw her eyes as she begged, I said forgive me and she left, I wondered what her life was like, Why she begged, where she slept at night. Because her feet were bare, Her clothes were torn, But was it her fault that she was born? In a family that can’t give her, All the things a child may want? *** Five-years-old when they came, Broke her innocence, broke her to shame, But why should she feel this way? Was the pain not enough, and now the shredded name? She was found somewhere in a ditch alone, Her clothes were torn, Her smile was gone. But was it her fault that she was born? In a world that gives men, All ...

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Humans of poverty

This piece is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. “Hello, I have this page, where I take pictures of people and share something about them, a thought, a quote, an opinion, an anecdote, whatever you are willing to offer.” “Okay, so…” “So can I take a picture and ask you a question?” “Sure, go ahead, but make it quick.” “Cool… hmm… so I was wondering, what is your saddest memory?” “Haha, I see you are pretty clever for your age. You know which will sell more – and a eunuch’s saddest memory will definitely have more depth to it than any happy moments, ...

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Street Child World Cup 2014: We gave our street children nothing but they made us proud!

As Owais Ali lined up to face India in Pakistan’s opening match of the Street Child World Cup, 2014, his life must have flashed before him. Here he was standing up for the national anthem in Rio de Janeiro in a prestigious football competition but just some time ago, things had been different. Very different. Like so many others on the cruel streets of Karachi, hustling, doing drugs or simply trying to survive on a daily basis, Owais too thought he would waste away his life and succumb to the fact that he ran away from home at the age of seven after ...

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Lettuce Bee Kids: Giving kids the opportunity to be kids!

One night, unable to sleep, I decided to aimlessly surf through Facebook. The curiosity of the human mind landed me on a girl’s profile who seemed quite patriotic. She had commented on one of the posts which intrigued me to click on her profile and read her status updates. There wasn’t much to be seen, just some stories of how people change over time. This all seemed very typical, until I came across a certain video on her profile. That very video is the reason behind this blog. It was an interview between the US Alumni Network and a young lady, ...

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This August 14, I learnt patriotism from Hindu Marwari children

This year, covering a sports event on August 14 changed my perspective on what the word ‘hope’ really means. I never thought that amateur football players belonging to the poor Hindu Marwari community could teach me such an important lesson, but they did. They were playing an exhibition match with the Muslim Marwaris’ on Independence Day and how they played for Pakistan! The event that I covered is a mere news story; it can only serve the purpose of informing readers and cannot reflect the true emotions of these people unless you go out there and witness it for yourself. Their story is bigger ...

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When street children can don national colours to represent Pakistan

It was a sweltering Saturday afternoon, when a group of young street children stopped to watch another group of children play football on a playground in New Karachi. The sport had captured their young imagination and they looked at the game longingly. The coach noticed these children – who were seemingly returning from garbage collection – and asked them to join in the football practice. They rushed forth with excitement and realised that the children they were playing with were ‘street children’ as well. This made them feel comfortable and so they played their hearts out. This was a practice session of Street Strikers Football ...

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