Children are the future of every country in the world. However, social conditions throughout the entire world are such that millions of children live in poverty, labor in the fields, factories and on the streets, are sold for sex, and attend inferior schools if they attend school at all. Nonetheless millions of children show strength and resilience and are thriving. Families remain powerful supports for their children. This course is an examination of a selection of children’s issues in both developed and developing countries. We will examine the cultural and economic conditions in which the children are growing up, particularly considering issues of gender, poverty and education. Our opportunity will be rich to make comparisons of these themes as we travel from country to country. We will pay special attention to governmental and non-governmental social programs that serve children and encourage resilience. As we cover this course content there will be films and shorter documentaries to illustrate the relevant issues.
Field WorkCountry: India
Date: October 26, 2017
A significant manifestation of child labor is street children, and India is estimated to have over 315,000 of them. More than half of these children have homes and families to return to nightly. They are labeled by UNICEF as “Children ON the Streets.” The homeless children are known as “Children OF the streets.” They live and work around railway stations, bus terminals, and markets. Their work consists of begging, hawking goods, selling candy and gum, collecting discarded recyclables, shining shoes and carrying packages in the market for strangers. Theirs is a hard and dangerous life with few supports. The goal of this field class is to learn as much as we can about street children’s existence in Cochin, India. To do so we will observe the activities of street children at the Cochin Railway Station. We will visit Don Bosco Sneva Bhaven, a drop-in center and shelter for street children. We will also visit the office of Childline, an India-wide call-in center for children in difficulty.
1. Students will understand the difference between children of the streets and children on the streets.
2. Students will observe the various activities in which street children engage.
3. Students will understand the role of emergency phone services in meeting the needs of children on the streets.
4. Students will grasp the need for drop-in and overnight shelters to provide protection for children on the streets.
5. Students will be able to discuss India’s efforts to reduce the numbers of children on the streets and the challenges of those efforts.