Sri Lanka has ratified the United Nations
Convention on Child Rights which is committed to safeguarding
the fundamental rights of children to life, protection,
education, medical care and adequate standards of living
irrespective of where they are born.
But this little girl or her mother cannot
struggle or fight to win these rights as their whole life is a
struggle — a fight to survive.
Along the dusty streets of Pettah in Colombo
this little flower bud is a common sight to many a passer by,
helping her mother to make ends meet, to make a scanty life.
During the day, she brings water and plain tea to her mother who
is begging in the street. In the afternoon both of them share a
packet of lunch sitting on the pavement. She often spends her
evening hours playing with her doll which has lost its both
hands and both legs.
Besides all the hardships of street life, she
seems to be happy and contented as she is yet too small to
understand that the reality of this sort of life is full of
misery and will be much harsher in the future.
It is a known fact that most of the street
children like her in Sri Lanka , are subjected to torture,
violence, sexual harassment and many such problems, sometimes
even before they reach teenage. To the underworld, these
children become the best tool to carry out their various illegal
missions ranging from sale of illicit drugs to child
Mahinda Chinthana which is towards a new Sri
Lanka promises, "Children of all religions to be able to obtain
an education in keeping with their religious beliefs and to
eliminate child abuse, rape, underworld and organized crime".
Mahinda Chinthana also promises to introduce a mechanism to
provide legal aid to the less privileged and the needy.
Besides all these statements it seems that the
chances of enjoying these rights actually depend on the
generosity of the more affluent. Therefore, the state and other
social organizations should take up the matter of homeless
children more seriously than ever before and should do all they
can to ensure the rights of these innocent lives.
Our national education syllabus at school level
has also included many lessons in its text books about such
homeless children but, without taking practical measures to
completely eradicate this problem of street children, and to
offer them the right to a full life, theoretical teaching and
preaching such lessons at school level would make no diversion
in the course towards the making of a proud, self reliant Sri
Lankan Nation in the future.