Children’s Rescue Mission
Addiction is merciless on children.
One of the most devastating social effects of addiction is its impact on children. The young and innocent are no match to the brutal power of addiction. The tender minds are scarred and in many instances, damaged permanently. Only an intentional, focused effort can stop the carnage and rescue the children.
The children are mainly affected in two ways. The first is because of addiction at home, where a parent struggles with addiction and the children live in an environment controlled by addictive behavior.
The role of the parent is to protect & provide for their children, but addiction can turn a loving father into a fearful monster. Children face verbal & physical abuse and mental & emotional torture that turn their childhoods into nightmares.
In many developing countries, the society prefers not to interfere in matters of family abuse. But in homes affected by alcohol or drugs, the children not only have a lack of basic needs, but face uncertainty and live in perpetual fear. When the lack of money threatens survival, the children are forced to take up odd jobs and in the worst cases sold into bonded child labour and prostitution. Faced with an intolerable situation and with no hope in sight, the children run away from home into the street, ignorant of the dangers that awaits them..
The runaway children usually take trains or buses that bring them to the large urban cities. The children suddenly find themselves immersed into a cruel sub-culture of the street, that leaves them helplessly exposed to threats all around. The greatest danger they now face is addiction on the street.
At home they faced abuse from a parent, but here they are vulnerable to pretty much anybody around. Many children then make the most ironic choice. They decide to turn to addiction to help cope with their feelings of fear, hunger, cold & loneliness. They realise that the best way of survival is escapism, numb yourself and follow the path of addiction. One huff of an inhalant, one puff of smoke, a snort of powder or a drink of cheap liquor provides them a ‘high’ that drowns their feelings and transports them momentarily to a new world of numbed pleasure and instant relief. Now the streets look more manageable. Happiness can always be found, as long as the substance is at hand. The children have now embarked on that dark path of addiction, a path that leads many to permanent mental disability and premature deaths. For others it is a long hard life of crime & violence that eventually lands them in jail or in being always on the run.
UNICEF report: ‘The latest estimates put the numbers of street children as high as 100 million’ (UNICEF, 2002: 37). And even more recently: ‘The exact number of street children is impossible to quantify, but the figure almost certainly runs into tens of millions across the world. It is likely that the numbers are increasing’ (UNICEF, 2005: 40-41) India has the highest number of street children in the world. (Estimates: 11-18 million)
Life Challenge’s Children Rescue Mission is determined to reach out to these children, rescue them from their captivity and put the smile back on the little faces. The efforts are focused to providing a way out of the downward spiral of addiction. The issues of addiction at home and addiction on the street are addressed through the various programs that are undertaken.
Life Challenge conducts outreach Children’s Clubs in Chennai to the affected children, to intervene in families of abuse and to identify the most badly affected children and provide help. Life School in Kakching provides education to the children from homes affected by addiction and HIV. Children & youth camps are conducted in Chennai and Manipur to encourage children to make right choices when faced with addiction.
Would you like to partner with the Children’s Rescue Mission? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.