Children constitute 37.6% of the total population of Pakistan. When viewed in the development context this figure presents beautiful picture of the future when the country will have sufficient young labour force to meet the challenges of the world but only if properly equipped with the tools of training, education and skills. A child is defined as a person under the age of 14 or according to some other experts 16, who cannot support himself and protect his basic rights. This segment of population is facing challenges in the country. These challenges include poverty, education, health, safe drinking water, lack of recreational facilities etc.
According to the government statistics there are approximately 1.5 million street children in Pakistan and number of children involved in child labour is even higher. There are various reasons behind the children on the streets and those who are forced to work at this early age. These reasons include poverty, lack of attention from parents, large family size, step parents, broken families, death of parents, domestic violence, low educational achievements, peer pressure, drug users, criminals, gamblers etc. On the streets and working as labour children face severe challenge of loneliness, lack of protection and threats of exploitation and even life. In order to overcome these threats street children join groups which are stronger and can provide them protection but children working as labor get lesser number of such chances as threat from the employer is the biggest for them. The street children face threat of exploitation from competitive groups, elders within the groups, police etc while the children working as labor are exploited by the employers, co-workers and other groups both physically and mentally.
In order to protect the right of these children it is very essential to provide them safe living place, education, health and safe drinking water facility and other basic necessities of life. Development of employable skills is required to make them productive citizen and able to earn a dignified living. These facilities can be provided by the sensitization and cooperation of the stakeholders. The stakeholders are parents and guardians, caretakers and Network operators, representatives of service providers in public and private non-profit sectors, representatives of Civil Society Organizations, Employers of Children, Staff of law enforcement agencies, Staff of social welfare department, Staff of Child Protection Bureaus, Shrine Caretakers.
SHRD will provide all these facilities to the street children selected through a process and will establish two drop-in centers for these children. The organization will carry out the activities of awareness and sensitization of the stakeholders and will also provide incentives to parents, legal aid, education, health and employable skills to the street and labour children to secure their future. District government will be motivated to enforce the child protection related laws in the District.