Celebrating International Street Connected Children's Day on 12 April'16

Azad Foundation envisions a world where no child has to live and/or work on streets.

Press Release
Azad Foundation celebrated International Day for Street Children at Karachi University; demanding identity for street connected children

Day: 11th April 2016

Panel discussion on Demanding Right to Identity for Street Connected Children

Venue: Department of Social Sciences (Arts Auditorium)

Azad Foundation organized Panel discussion at Arts Auditorium on the theme, "Street Children demanding their right to identity" to celebrate International Day for Street Children in order to highlight one of the major issues that street children faced everyday: right to identity.

The panel discussion included one of the prominent MNAs, Mr. Rehan Hashmi, Mr. Hamood Jaffery (Lawyer High court), Professor Dr. Anila Amber Malik (Chairperson, Department of Psychology), Professor Dr. Farah Iqbal (Head, Department of Psychology), Professor Dr. Fateh Burfat (Chairperson, Department of Criminology), Professor Monis Ahmer (Dean of Social Sciences) and Naveed Hassan Khan (CEO, Azad Foundation)

The program proceeded with a documentary movie of Azad Foundation with story of Owais Rehmat, one of the street children who has transformed from Street to normal life. After that the panel discussion was led by Dr. Farah Iqbal.

Mr. Naveed Hassan Khan gave introduction of Azad Foundation and briefed about the journey, and mentioned the hardships faced during the visa procedure, regarding identification of documents, and mentioned with thanks the efforts made by parliamentarians; made it possible for most of the children to make available their identification documents for Street Child World Cup held in 2014.

He shared that in 2011, Consortium of Street Children started a campaign demanding a day for street children by observing International Day for street children on 12th April 2011 and every year onwards.

Dr. Anila Amber Malik discussed on functional literacy, she reflected the impact of psychological developments on the mind of street connected children

Prof. Fateh Burfat mentioned that two of our students have done PHD in Street Children. He discussed about Social responsibility of parenting. He discussed the issue of identity in social perspective; What street connected children should be named. He further mentioned that Kashan e Atfal, one of the NGOs working in Pakistan have those children which do not have any identity. He also discussed on the dark side of society such as illegal births, and raised the point that the killings and dumping of children due to illegal births have intensified this issue more.

Rehan Hashmi discussed Article 5A that states about free education but there is less or no implementation. He mentioned that in government only few have powers. When we talk about democracy; we talk about distribution of powers to lower administrative level. Kindly mention that we are not a welfare state, SWD should be on district or UC level so that these can take care or holds responsibility of this issue of street children. He suggested rehabilitation centers to be established on District or UC levels that can facilitate these children. He emphasized that these are not the kids of any NGO these are kids of state.

Hamood Jaffery discussed about legitimate rights mentioned in constitution for women and children. He further highlighted case that was presented in supreme court, in 2014 which was related to children who had no identification document. During that case hearing, Justice Azmat Saeed Shiekh passed remarks that those children who are left helpless by their parents or do not have any trace of parents are the state responsibility.

NADRA in that case presented that they have drafted policy in which they mentioned some main points; presented in summary of that case. NADRA highlighted that all orphanage or NGOs who took responsibility of these children will submit the certificate of their affiliation. Upon issue of naming the child If the child is non parent, or orphanage will have random parent name irrespective of NGO. If religion is unknown the child will be Muslim. But this is just a policy not a law that have proper rules. He emphasis that signing treaty is not enough, implementation is necessary.

Monis Ahmer thanked AF and Psychology department and welcomed everyone at Social Sciences dept. He suggested that parliament and stakeholders are to be given deadline that till 2030 the issue of street connected children is to be resolved (15years duration). UNICEF to be taken on board in the mechanism and timeline and are to be taken their consciences on it. He commented that Pakistan failed to become a responsible state; no one wants to take responsibility. He also shared an incident a week ago and pointed that we do intentionally make the street child work and leave the signal without paying for their services. He discussed that it is not only the responsibility of state but the responsibility of each person who claims to be Pakistani citizen; to be a humanitarian in actual.

During Question Answer session upon asking about why only to raise voice for street children and not for whole nation who is divided in many religious and racial groups, Mr. Monis Ahmer shared his opinion that this identity crisis has been created by us. Identity is created when the nation leader work more on reducing corruption, and reduce discrimination factor.

Sir Fathe Burfat shared his experience that in 2011 during his visit to London for some seminar he saw the line written on wall “Do you know your father’s name? if you don’t know come to us.” It was an ad of DNA testing center. Upon inquiring they informed that if you are a British citizen, we have your DNA; they have the data of both the biological father and social father of each British citizen. Through this incident he emphasized that in Pakistan we do not have census, we have no idea about actual population.

Mr. Naveed Hassan Khan shared that in 1955 Sindh Child Act was passed. It mentions that If parents forced the child out of home and lead them to street the police is empowered to send them back home and make sure they do not come back to streets.

Ms. Farah read the resolution and asked for the acceptance from the crowd.

Lastly Mr. Monis Ahmer formally closed the session and distributed token of participation to the panel speaker guests.

"Main Kaun hun?" Street theatre organized by Azad Foundation – demanding Identity for street connected children

Venue: Arts Lobby, University of Karachi

Azad Foundation organized street theatre at Arts lobby, University of Karachi on 11th April’ 2016. The same panel participated in the Street Theatre, based on the theme of the life of street children, and the concept that these children do not have proper identity or names that left no room for them to claim their basic rights. Theatre artist, Mr. Mehmood Bhatti and his team performed street theatre to highlight the importance of demanding identity for Street connected children. This was the first time that Arts lobby has observed any street theatre performance. The students encouraged the effort and also signed petition to demand identity for street connected children.

Walk for Identity- organized by Azad Foundation- demanding identity for street connected children

Azad foundation organized walk from Arts Lobby to UBL in which our panel guest speaker, Mr. Rehan Hashmi (Ex- MNA), Mr. Hamood Jaffery (Lawyer High court), and Professor Dr. Farah Iqbal (Head, Department of Psychology) along with team members of Azad Foundation demonstrated walk from Arts Lobby to UBL, demanding right to identity for street children. Students from various Arts and Social Sciences departments participated in the walk. Pakistan Street Child Football Team also participated in all activities; and further supported the issue by holding play cards during demonstration.

"Street Children: demanding their right for identity"

International Street Children day was first celebrated in the year 2011. Proposed by the Consortium of Street Children, the day is still not recognized by the United Nations. Despite this, the day is celebrated by organizations working with street children worldwide since 2011. Azad has always been a part of activities on this day. Likewise, this year, the theme for International Street Children Day is “IDENTITY”. This theme is to promulgate identity as one of the basic rights of these children, as deprivation of this right robs them with numerous of their social, legal, and political rights in the society.

To raise voice and spread awareness for the Street Children’s basic rights for their identity by involving and urging the policymakers and representatives from the legislature to put pressure on the government for designing and implementing related policies, as well as, laws for providing street children with their rightful identity.

In the milieu of the spirit with which AF has been working for these children since 2001, we wish to raise more awareness about the issue of giving identity to these children through celebrating this day, for this purpose we has organized different activities throughout the Karachi mention below.

  • 11th April Panel discussion, street theater, walk and friendly match through the platform of University of Karachi.
  • 12th April Activity for signing petition at Hyperstar Dolmen mall, Clifton.
  • 12th April Art Activity with street connected children at Tomb of Abdullah shah Ghazi.

Celebration at University of Karachi:

University of Karachi is the biggest University of Pakistan with eight faculties, 53 departments and about 24,000 students. Azad’s Board of Directors being alumni of UoK, take pride in the contributions that various departments of University of Karachi have made in highlighting the issues of street connected children in Pakistan. AF has resolved to ensure and establish that every street child is enabled to contribute to the structure of society in the sense of harmony, peace and socially integrated living. For fulfilling this purpose AF organized a Panel discussion including street theater leading to walk and friendly football match at University of Karachi. While the panel discussion will be consist on academia and legislatures.

  • Panel discussion at Arts Auditorium, Timings: 10:30 AM
  • Street Theatre at arts lobby Timings: 12:00 PM
  • Walk for Identity from arts lobby to Department of Pharmacy Timings: 12:30 PM
  • Football Match (Pakistan Street Child Football Team VS. Karachi University Football Team) at Karachi University Football Ground Timings: 01:00 PM

Signing Petition Activity at Dolmen City Mall Clifton:

Dolmen Mall Clifton has been selected for this activity because it is the most popular and visited mall in Karachi that attracts people from all walk of lives. Therefore we believe that it is the ideal spot for this campaign. On 12th April, Azad Foundation will place a backdrop (penaflex) in an area within Dolmen Mall where people from all walks of life will come and sign petition throughout the day. AF’s staff, volunteers and some players of Pakistan Street Children Football Team will be present on the day at the food court of the mall which is accommodates 1200 customers daily visited by . Media will also be invited to cover the event

Arts and Craft Activity at Shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi:

Play and recreational Art activities are essential to the mental health and well-being of children as well as physical health and promote the development of creativity, imagination, self-confidence, self-efficacy, social, cognitive and emotional strength and skills. Azad foundation is going to celebrate this event with street connected children and street working children at the Shrine of Abdullah shah Ghazi. Before some changes in infrastructure it has been the oldest hotspot and the main attraction where large number of Street connected children were gathered. It still has significance for the prior cause and street connected children can easily be found here for arranging any activity.