I live on a bench

July 1, 2014 - 5 minutes read

street children of pakistan

Most of the people among us must have watched “Cinderella”. How did you actually feel when she had to do all chores of the house by her own self while she was just 7-8 years old? How did you feel when she was being bullied by her own step-sisters? I believe most of us must have felt bad when Cinderella had to bear all that stuff at such a young age. But that was just a fairy tale.

In our country, you can see many young Cinderellas or young princes wandering while picking the garbage from the street corners and eating them as their course meal.

Most of them have no place to live and work like slaves in big houses or workshops etc., so that they can eat one properly. Child Labor is not a hidden issue and has been highlighted many times. As the rate of poverty in our country increases, the proportion of child labor also increases. But these poor kids are also the creation of the same God we worship. Then why do we treat them so indifferently? Let me share with you guys an interview that we had with a little angel (10-12 years old) who had no refuge in the world but Allah Almighty!

Q: What’s your name, kid?

A: My name is Inaam.

Q: MashAllah, you have got such a nice name. What’s your age?

A: Umm. I do not know.

Q: Why are you sitting over this heap of garbage, Inaam?

A: I am just taking a break for five minutes over this heap. I had been working since sunrise.

Q: You are just a kid. What do you work?

A: I am not a kid. I earn. I work daily. I collect plastic bottles from the heaps of garbage and sell it to the shopkeeper who buys it from me and in return, they give me some amount of money.

Q: But where is your family? Why do you have to earn yourself?

A: I have no family. My father died when I was too young due to paralysis and after a few months, my mom also left me. I live across this street. There is a bench where I sleep. That is my home.  That is why I have to earn for myself.

Q: But don’t you want to go to school and play with the kids of your age?

A: I want to study and want to make friends with whom I can play, but they are so repulsive to me.

Q: But why is that so?

A: I don’t know the exact reason. But daily at 2 o’clock, I go to this primary school (pointing towards a small school) and sit there and watch kids. But whenever I try to talk to them, they make fun of me, and, sometimes, they beat me too.

Q: How do you spend your whole day?

A: I collect plastic bottles till 1:45 in the afternoon. Then I go to the primary school to see it from a distance. Then, at 4 o’clock, I go to the shop to sell the articles that I have collected. And then I buy some food and flowers from it. In the evening, I sell those flowers till 9 o’clock. Then I come back to my bench to sleep because I have to wake up early in the morning.

This is not just the story of a single boy. There are millions of young souls like Inaam.

All we need to do is help these poor kids and stop child labor so that these kids can build the future of our country!

 By: Afnan Sharief

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