Street Kids in India

“Indian Street Kids”

Photographs by Ms Zia Zeff.

Photodocumentary realised in India, principally in Varanasi during voluntary work as a proffessor of English for the orphanage and slum school Kutumb and as a street nurse working for the charity and medical dispensary Agir Pour Benares.

The streets of India are full of life, shambolic, colourful, crazy, chaotic life. This vast country possesses the largest population of children in the world, 440 million; one child in five in the world is Indian. The Universal Convention for the Rights of Children was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1989, it is the international treaty the most ratified in the world. Despite this, 63% of Indian Children go to sleep hungry. Every year thousands of children die on the streets due to malnutrition, drug abuse, sickness or maltreatment. Street orphans with frail bodies, dressed in rags, begging or working in terrible conditions are the outcasts of an unequal society. I went to meet them to try to understand their stories, their joys, pains, hopes and sadnesses...these children that live, eat, play, sleep and dream on the streets of this country that I love so much. It's only now that I see them as intuitive, laughing, understanding and creative...perfect children in an imperfect world with the bad luck to have been be born in difficult circumstances. These children represent over 20 million children who live on the streets of India; and this does not include so many more who live with their families in precarious situations in the slums. Their stories are all too often ignored, drowned out by the noise of the streets, and yet they are so visible to all.

India is a happy sad land.