Life is harsh in Chennai's teeming streets, so when runaway sisters Viji and Rukku arrive, their prospects look grim. Very quickly, eleven-year-old Viji discovers how vulnerable they are in this uncaring, dangerous world. Fortunately, the girls find shelter--and friendship--on an abandoned bridge. With two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, the group forms a family of sorts.
As India strives to make great strides in its economy and infrastructure, it is constantly reminded of its social reality that is based on an age-old caste system. The history of India has seen sporadic incidents of discrimination against a particular group of people, mostly under the attestation from the traditional systems of caste and untouchability.
In India, the people who make their living by recycling waste are known as ragpickers. In New Delhi alone, there are 300,000 ragpickers, with another 300,000 in Mumbai, of whom 120,000 are under the age of 14.
The Concerned for Working Children is a not-for-profit secular, democratic development agency based in Bengaluru, India. Active since the late 1970s, we were one of the first organisations in India to focus on working children and their needs. We have since become widely recognised as a world leader in children’s rights, particularly children’s right to self determination.
“My father, he used to beat our whole family. Without any mistake. One day he beat my mom and he killed her,” he says, in the above video explaining that he hit her head into a wall.
Satender goes on to say that his father once beat him for an entire day for missing school. He decided that living on the street was safer than his own home. “If I go in the street, I will be beaten by police, but only once or twice in a day,” Satender says. “Not all day like my father is beating me.”