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India

There are around 440 million children living in India, with an estimated 40% currently in need of care and protection. In Delhi alone, there are over 25,000 children on the streets who are illiterate.

*Save the Children and the Institute for Human Development, Surviving the Streets – 2011

With numerous families living in extreme poverty in the surrounding rural areas, many children migrate to the streets of Delhi, lured by the idea and excitement of city life. Others escape to the street after suffering from neglect and abuse at home. There are also a significant number of children who are born into so-called ‘street families’, where second and third generation children face life on the streets from birth. Others may still live at home but are forced to work on the streets to support their families. Street children in Delhi work in a number of jobs; from begging and rag-picking to shoe-shining and trinket-selling. Working on the streets means they do not have the time or support to go to school and therefore grow up without an education. Currently 50% of street and working children in Delhi are illiterate. Growing up illiterate seriously inhibits their chances and opportunities for the future, resulting in a cycle of poverty that leaves some children no choice but to spend the rest of their lives on the street.

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