City life seem alluring to many, especially the young. It is estimated that in Hyderabad and Secunderabad alone there are about 60000 street or working children. On an average, 70-80 children stray into the cities daily. They live on streets, railway platforms, bus stations and in unhygienic, disease-infested slums.
Don Bosco Navajeevan (DBNJ) has street educators located in hot spots to offer continuous support to children on the street through a unique approach called Street Presence. They are 'present' round-the-clock at various strategic locations where children enter the city, live or work. They work closely with the Police, APSRTC and Railway Staff. Child Rescue Booths set up by them help rescue children who run away from home and protect them from any form of abuse.
The strategy that evolved from Navajeevan's experience at Vijayawada is to first speak to the children and gain their confidence and trust. A Street Presence Team, constituted of six street educators, is set up. The team contacts street children and builds a good rapport with them. During the past 11 years, they have contacted more than 28000 children in and around Secunderabad, Hyderabad and Kachiguda Railway Stations that have got the highest level of concentration of street children. The team has placed more than 9500 children back at their homes after due counselling. They also arranged better job placements for more than 440 boys.