Help them Smile

street childrenMy question was very common – what do you want to be? The answer was not simple – I want to be Kopian. I asked again and again to be sure of what he answered. At last I decipher the name ‘Kofi Annan’. I got stuck for 5 minutes. What a visionary career plan it is of an 11 year old child of Thakurgao!

It was September 2006 I was coming back university hall by bus. There was a 14 year old male child by me. I asked him, as it’s my habit, what do you want to be in future. He replied “I want to be an Imam of a Masjid where I say my everyday prayer.
It is disturbing for me to concentrate in Salat when I see that the aged people remove children form the front line and send to the most back line of Masjid using rough sentences. Even sometimes they are physically harassed as they dare to position in front line to say prayer.

I, frankly, can remind that day in 2005 when we bought flower wreath from an 11 year old female children at Mall Chattar in University of Dhaka. Being asked various questions, she revealed a pathetic but true attitude of lower class parents of earning money by their school going children.

These real life experiences represent the true scenario of children in Bangladesh. But we think that every children born with huge potentials and just wait to be unlocked. They are limitations (social, economic, physical, and emotional) what prevent the children to unlock their potential.

Children: The jewel of the Earth

working childIt is undoubtedly true that it is the children who beautify the earth. As defined in CRC of United Nation, all who are less than 18 years may call children. Children are mostly innocent, always smiling, free from ill thinking and with a soft heart to accept everything. They are full with potentials and require proper facilitation to be unlocked. There is no difference in respect to by born capacity between two children of whom one become doctor and other trapped as a beggar. The only difference is facilitation and self determination what they receive from society. Likewise an honest had no magic box to become honest and a dishonest had no prior crime that is why s/he is dishonest.

Children in our Society:

Children in our society treated differently in different situations. Children in rich family observe more socioeconomic benefits – proper parenting, education, nutrition etc. – poor family can not provide their children with these facilities. In other aspect, religious family emphasizes on moral development of children whereas many families are showing apathy to this content. These differences of opportunities and outlook in the process of child development experience a society where children are caught in begging, peddling, factory work, etc. unexpected positions instead of educational institution. Lack of moral motivation and religious teaching direct the children towards crime, eve teasing, acid throwing, drug addiction and other juvenile delinquencies.

Children in Deprivation:

working childrenIf you have a glance at the pavement of Dhaka city or have experience to pass by park and stadium, your heart will get trembling observing the miserable condition on children – they are passing night without roof and bed, have no fixed place for toilet and bathing. Did you ever ask any question, what wrong with them? Why does a child of one month pass its life in a park?

At the time of your daily moving you get many children begging for food, peddling light material, passing life without clothes, sandals, houses, and even parents and siblings. This deprivation of basic necessities, supports, cooperation, and guidance make them extremist, cruel, and criminal. They are usually engage in light crimes – hijacking, stealing, fraud, etc. – to maintain daily livelihood. Some immoral activities are also shown in their character – drug addiction, acid throwing, and maltreatment with women – as they do not have any moral and religious motivation.

Problems with children in riches

Don’t get biased that children are in problem due only to poverty rather improper upbringing, ill parenting and defected societal environment also cause problems within children. “Gulshan resident Milton, 16, (not a real name) and his 6 associates are caught with 400 Yaba tablets last night” this story represent style of problems faces by children of new generation. Their behavior is dominated by wastage, overwhelming consumption, abhorrence to poor, apathy to Islamic values, etc.

Deep into the Problems:

If we go deep into the problems relating to children, following criteria can easily be found. Though all children are born with equal potentials, they grow up differently and experience different volume of development in respect to their economic status and the process of socialization they experience. So it can be pronounced that we have to address two things to ensure a society where children’s potentials are nicely unlocked. This two are improving economic condition (in case of poverty) and providing proper agents for socialization.

Let children smile in poverty:

We may not remove poverty just rubbing a magic box but can make the children with poverty smile rubbing a magic box. poor childSurprise? Listen, of course we can if the magic box contains sprit of brotherhood. The advantaged part of society may extend their hand to promote smiling face of children. It’s very simple.

Providing clothes: you may have more clothes and may not wear some clothes or choose some clothes less. It is a great opportunity for you to help your brother, who could not afford for clothing, providing your extra or old clothes. Besides you may have door to door clothes collection campaign to collect old and extra clothes from the society and distribute them to the needy children.

Sharing Food: how beautiful it will be if you share your tiffin with your class mates, or you collect money to buy food for them! It will cost very little money to buy food for them as they require less but there should have an initiative and you have to come first.

Play together: You need no money to involve them with you in playground. Through playing a nice relation will develop between you and them using this relation you may understand their problems nicely and extend your hand to help them.

Visit their house: Visiting the houses of poor children and inviting them to visit your house is the easiest tools to have good relation with them. Though this process you may convince your father to help your poor friend.

Celebrate festivals together: Every festival – private and public – such as Eid, birthday, new year, etc. should celebrate together. You should extend your hand to manage clothes and foods for them. You may remind a true story of Prophet Mohammad (sm). He brought an orphan who was crying in the morning on Eid to Hazarat Ayesha (R) and she managed necessary thing (e.g., food and cloth) for him to make him happy. help them

Inspire doing well and discourage doing bad: think about that most of the juvenile delinquencies happened in front of you or by your friends, classmates, neighbors. If you practice this grate habit that you will encourage your friends in doing well for the betterment of society (e.g., giving food and clothes for poor, telling truth, saying prayer, observing purda, exchanging salam, and so on) and prevent him from crime (e.g., eve teasing, telling lie, stealing, acid throwing, and so on), you can make a society where no children will cry and no crime will happen.

At last it can be told that we live in a society which is full of people with various definitions – one may have enormous riches while other may lack it, someone may devoid of moral character and other may observe it strictly. This variation is very common in any society. If a society bases on brotherhood, there will have a bridge between all the classes they will share their smile and cry and mutually they will build a happy society.

Writer:  Shafiullah Rajwan

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