Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Voice for the Voiceless

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Proverbs 31:8

Do we really care for the poor and needy children around us?

India is home to 400 million children, the largest number in any country in the world. However sadly, one third of the world’s children living in poverty are in India.

Childhood is the time when a person needs nurturing, schooling, time to play and explore the opportunity to grow both emotionally and physically. We all say, children are the future of a nation. Yet they have been neglected a lot in India, which is evident from the existence of infant mortality, child morbidity, child malnutrition, childhood disability, child abuse, child labor, child prostitution, street children, child beggary, child marriage, drug addiction and illiteracy.

What are we going to do? Are we just going to be mere spectators of things happening around us? Or are we going to raise our voice for their justice?

Abandoned children have been a source of misery since times immemorial. In developing countries like India, everywhere we find children who should be in school toiling in hazardous occupations. Children wander about to make their living out of harsh environment. They become subject to all sorts of abuses. Many children are deprived of parental care and are shunned by the society for no fault of theirs.

What these children require is the seamless continuum of care and concern. Let us remember that if today’s children are not protected, tomorrow’s society will be weakened.

Stacia Tauscher once said, “We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.” Isn’t it? Most often, when we come across such abandoned children, we sympathize for them. We worry about their future. But have ever taken a single step to help them. Have we been socially responsible enough to help them get rid of their bitter circumstances? Most often not! In fact, we seldom think of them when we reach our homes.

It is not only the responsibility of the government to look after these abandoned children. It is the responsibility of the society and the government to act together and respond to this miserable situation. And as Christians, we cannot be silent to this burning issue. If we fail to do so, we will be doing a grave injustice to our children and would be denying them their basic rights.

After reading this, next time whenever you see a child begging in the streets, selling flowers or fruits by the roadside, singing songs and pleading for money in the moving trains, don’t harden your hearts. Set a trail for others to follow. Do your best to help and protect these vulnerable children. Raise your voice for the little ones. Your small gesture could transform tomorrow’s India.

What you do will impact the lives of more than you will ever know.

- Sunitha Justin