By: Amirul Aiman, Faarzana, Salmie & Zul Khairi
A harmony and progressive country like Malaysia sealed an untold story behind it. A city light at night become the only beam that witness loneliness and emptiness of homeless children especially in Kuala Lumpur and others city in Malaysia. The developing of the country had neglected this minority from having the same benefits like other citizens.
Most of the homeless children are being abandon from both their parents who working late night and this will lead them to be engaged with social security problem like sexual abuse, human trafficking and others crimes. There is also homeless children who are refugees such as Rohingya and also illegal child who their mother a sex workers that make their home as place for that unhealthy activity. Does this untold realities are irritating? This unlucky minority had gone through a hard time to keep their survival.
The numbers of homeless children or street kids is increasingly and worrying as this will lead to other unhealthy social problems. As said by UNICEF, in Malaysia, children living on the streets include undocumented children, stateless children and children of migrants. Some children may have run away from home, often in response to psychological, physical or sexual abuse. Those children without right birth registration will deny their benefits from having good education and healthcare.
According to an Inter-NGO Program on street children and youth, a street child is “any girl or boy who has not mature and reach adulthood level, for whom the street has become his or her usual sojourn and source of livelihood, and who is deficient protected, directed, and look over by responsible adults.”
IMPACTS ON HOMELESS CHILDREN
The analogy is simple-
1) What if: a herd of sheep release naked in sahara among wilderness—among lions and cheetah?
2)The cheetah and wilderness represent city and rough black hazardous environment, while sheep is symbolic to homeless kid or children.
The rough environment will shape and affect the children, while other kids enjoying pencil and book with guidance from teacher,homeless will enjoy their day with daydream or loitering around their neighbourhood without proper education. They will repeat the cycle of their parents life. In 2012 level of illiterate in Malaysia is 37,504 from 468,808 SPM candidates. (Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi,2012)
From 468,808 students are taking SPM in 2012, how about homeless? Are they seat for SPM too?
Children are persona from their elder, parents, brothers and who they friends with, the other effect of homeless is the margin of crime rapidly increase day by day. Their father as drug dealer, while sister and mother as prostitute and friend join the gangster club to try fit in the society. They are the 'noir' side of Kuala Lumpur-Chow kit. Are you sure they will became “Imam Muda’ after being raised in this black society—sure they can. But in one fine day.
ACT AND NGO's INVOLVING HOMELESS CHILDREN
The Child Act 2001 [Act 611] was enacted in our country to fulfil its obligation under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which is in 1995 and the goals of CRC are to uphold its commitment to the protection and welfare of her children. This was a major step for the country.
Act 611’s preamble provides that every child is entitled to protection and assistance in all circumstances without regard to distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, social origin or physical, mental or emotional disabilities or any status. In addition, the provisions of Act 611 are based on the four core principles of the CRC that is, non-discrimination, best interest of the child, the right to life, survival and development and respect for the views of the child.
Apart from that, the Act also established the National Council for the Protection of Children, which advises the Government on child protection issues while the National Advisory and Consultative Council for Children acts as a national focal point for children's well-being and development.
Act 611 also requires the setting up of Child Protection Teams and Child Activity Centres at both state and district levels. For instance, it is aimed at mobilising community participation in the implementation of preventive and rehabilitative programmes, these initiatives are targeted for children at risk or children vulnerable to all forms of abuse and exploitation.
There are following non-governmental groups that are working to respect and uphold the rights of children in our country such as Malaysian Child Resource Institute, Childline Malaysia, Malaysia Care, National Early Childhood Intervention Council, Protect and Save the children, Voice of Children, and Yayasan Chow Kit.
In a nutshell, those unlucky homeless children who being neglected apart from the developing world should have a better place and it is not only one responsibility as this issue takes more than that to combat these social problems. Lack of love and attention towards their needs had made them become vulnerable and a good approach from NGO and leader of community are needed. The NGO in our country especially should uphold the principles and provisions of the CRC such as the General Principles of the CRC concerning non-discrimination, the best interests of the child, the right to life and survival and development and the right of the child to express their views freely.