The need to mobilise corporate funds to meet the challenges in rehabilitating street children was emphasised during a ‘critical discussion’ involving various stakeholders, including NGOs in New Delhi.
Mobilisation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds will help address the issue comprehensively and in a more structured manner as compared to time-bound international donor grants, said Luke Samson, director of NGO Sharan.
“We are facing a huge population challenge in India with poverty and unplanned parenting. This makes child vulnerability manifest in issues such as the ones faced by the street children,” he said, adding that as per a recent UNICEF estimate, the number of street children in India was 17 million.
Country Director of UNAIDS India Oussama Tawil stressed on the importance of dialogue and involving the government and media in the endeavours to find solutions to the problems in rehabilitating the street children.
With the new CSR paradigms coming in, a lot of money was available with the corporate sector, said KK Upadhyay, former head of CSR-FICCI.
“Childcare being one of the major areas of concern, corporates should spend money in this domain for a better impact of CSR activities and contribute to nation-building,” he added.
The street children are among “the most vulnerable” in the society, said Anindya Chatterjee, Regional Director, Asia Regional Office, International Development Research Centre, adding that the discussions on the subject will help prepare plans to protect them.
A woman, whose 23-year-old son became a drug addict while living on the streets, also spoke at the event.
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The CSR Journal Team