Vol. 5 Num 923 Sun. December 31, 2006  

Eid joy eludes street children

Although Eid brings joy and happiness to people of almost all walks of life, the street children can hardly share this joy and happiness due to their poverty.

While talking to The Daily Star, several street children said they have no respite from work to think about Eid which is just knocking at the door.

They said Eid does not bring any special message for them except that they can earn some extra money by selling flowers, popcorns and water bottles in different places like Shishu Park, Ramna Park, National Zoo and Botanical Garden in the city on that day.

Mita, a seven-year old girl who sells flowers at different traffic signals, said when other children come out of their houses wearing new dresses to have fun on Eid day, she just sells flower to earn some extra money.

With emotion-chocked voice she said she never get any new dress for Eid and her mother told her that Eid is meant for the rich people and not for the poor like them.

"While selling flowers, I have seen many happy boys and girls of my age coming out from the market with lots of shopping bags along with their parents. My mother said they are lucky because they are rich," said Mita.

When asked about her plan on Eid day, she said she will sell more flower bouquets and chains on that day and earn some money to buy ice cream.

Sumon, who lives at Hatirpool area and sells popcorn on Nazrul Islam Avenue, said he has no plan for Eid.

"Many children wear new dresses and I just see them," he said, adding, "Sometimes I think if I could wear new dresses on the Eid day and have fun like them."

Raju, who sells chocolate at Shahbagh area, said Shishu Park is the only place in the city where street children can have some free rides on Eid day.

"And that's why I am saving money to visit Shishu Park during the Eid," he added.

"But the Shishu Park becomes so crowded on the Eid day that we have to struggle with others to enjoy the amusements there," said Mili, a nine-year old girl who sells flower chains at Shahbagh intersection.

However, there are many local, international, government and non-government organisations which have taken various projects for street children's education, health and other well-being.

Shakhawat Ullah Chowdhury, divisional co-ordinator of Arise Project under the Directorate of Social Welfare, said they have made special arrangements for street children across the country ahead of Eid-ul-Azha as they did during the Eid-ul-Fitr.

On the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha, cattle would be sacrificed on behalf of the project in different shelters and vagrant homes, he added.

He said arrangements will also be made so that street children can celebrate the Eid like other people.

Yet, the number of street children who will pass their Eid without a full meal is greater than those who will have new clothes and foods to be provided by different NGOs.