Usha, Hepsiba, Sneha, Ashok and Silambarasan, five teenagers from Chennai's streets will represent India at the first ever Street Child Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"These children have experienced life on the streets", said secretary of Karunalaya, N. Paul Sunder Singh.
They have been rescued, protected and taught by Karunalaya Social Service Society, who is the official Indian partner with Street Child United.
Team India will represent their country and speaking for the rights of street children. Some of the children selected are school drop-outs and a few are sole bread-winners for the family. For instance, Sneha (15 years old) is a class 9 drop-out and works in a shop that weaves mosquito-nets for babies. Her mother has stopped working and her father is an alcoholic. Her aim is to finish Class 10 and she is happy about the opportunity to participate in the Street Child Games, as she will be flying for the first time; but it was very difficult for her to get a passport. Street children don't have an address.
Team India is supported by Karunalaya Social Service Society, an NGO dedicated to the rights of street children in Chennai City. Since 1995, Karunalaya has been supporting and reintegrating street children with their families in many states of India, even to neighbouring Nepal. Karunalaya offers shelter, sports and arts activities to street children and pavement-dwellers, and advocates for the empowerment of Chennai’s most marginalised communities.