On Thursday we visited a couple drop in centers for street children. Most of these kids still have parents who are either disabled, out of work, or living on the streets, so the children stay at these centers where they have a warm bed, food, education and donated clothing. One of the things that still strikes me everyday about India is the overwhelming amount of children wandering around on the streets, begging or selling trinkets. And the saddest thing is that many are already involved in crime, drugs and even sex work, so seeing a safe place where street children can stay was a welcome sight.
At one of the drop in centers near Jama Masjid, a historic mosque, we had the chance to sit down and play a game with the children. It was actually a pretty creative game. The center doesn’t have much funding for toys and other materials, so we used our imaginations to play along. We imagined a box and inside that box you could pull out an imaginary whatever you want, you just had to mime it – so kind of like charades. It was a lot of fun, but I can see that it certainly takes a lot of patience to work with street children. The director of the center told us that many of the kids will tell you three or four different kinds of names before they trust you enough to tell you their real one. In many ways, these children never had real childhoods, like us, but at centers like these, they can at least feel a sense of normalcy and security.