Street children deprived of sports

Published at : 27 May 2024, 01:00 pm
Street children deprived of sports

When Rakib was meant to be enjoying a happy childhood, he was seen picking up a plastic bottle in a dirty gunny bag on his shoulder. He has no idea how old he is. However, it is foreseeable that he is either 13 or 14. He is known as "Tokai." Along with a large number of other kids, Rakib resides at Kamalapur railway station without his parents. The station is their home. They have to fight with life to survive the age they were supposed to spend playing sports.

Rakib wants to play. Like other children at this age, he wants to not worry about two meals a day after waking up. He wants to play with a ball and go outside wearing clean clothing with his peers. He wants to play without lifting a bottle. If he doesn't lift the bottle, he will not get food! He won't get food if he doesn't lift the bottle!

Sports are not just an accessory for temporary pleasure. Pediatricians say sports are essential for a child's development in a healthy way. Participating in athletics is essential for a child's intellectual development. A child's body requires exercise to remain healthy. Sports can also be an enjoyable way to work out. A child who is exposed to healthy entertainment and sports as they grow up has the potential to succeed in life.

Many organizations working for children's rights in Bangladesh have emphasized the importance of sports in the mental and physical development of children. Abdullah Al Mamun, director of Save the Children, told the Khaborer Kagoj, "Apart from physical and mental development, sports also help children's social development. Running accelerates physical growth, including muscle and bone building. At the same time, children are mentally stimulated and are free from anxiety if they play. In terms of social skills, sports increase self-confidence, improve the mental ability to work in a team, increase the ability to communicate with people, and teach how to deal with various types of stress. Sports develop teamwork skills. So it can be said that sports are essential for the growth of children."

According to UNICEF's study 'Street Situation in Bangladesh 2024' published in March this year, there are currently more than 3 million, or 40 thousand, street children in the country. They have struggled with the harsh reality of life since childhood. Their desire to dream is stopped at an early age by the urge to earn a living. The main goal of these children is to survive by eating. As a result, street children suffer from mental exhaustion at a young age. Being depressed, he chose the path of drugs. In this situation, pediatricians think that sports can be a means to overcome depression.

Rashed Islam, a volunteer of Path Shishu Seba Sangathan, a voluntary organization that works with street children, shared his experience with the Khaborer Kagoj. He does fieldwork with street children every Friday at Kamalapur railway station. Children are given non-formal primary education, first aid, cultural programs, sports, and health and hygiene education in this field. Apart from this, educational cartoons and video clips are shown to develop children's minds. Rashed said that children enjoy sports the most. The mental fatigue that accumulates throughout the week due to various reasons is mentally refreshed by a day's sports on the field.

"Various brain sports are also offered for children's mental growth, in addition to physical sports. Children enjoy numerical games, suduko, and puzzles among these. Children come in groups to this field at the end of the week because they can play here for one whole day to their hearts' content," he continued.

Sports are important, but so are other healthy forms of enjoyment for a child's development. It is an excellent way to shape a child's life through reading books, making drawings, watching cartoons, listening to music, and viewing quality movies. A child must be raised in an environment that is both creative and positive. But for Rakib and other homeless kids, where are the opportunities?