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Background: Street children are exposed to the harshest of living experience. They start experiencing the cruelest form of life from an age when they are supposed to be raised amidst nothing but care and love.
Aims: This study attempts to understand the lived experience of street-working children, the daily challenges they face, their coping strategies, and the social network they maintain for a living.
Methodology: Using a quantitative, and to some extent, ethnographic method, a sample of 110 street-working children aged 5-15 years was drawn from Dhaka University campus and surrounding areas: Shahbag, New Market, Chankharpool and Ramna in Dhaka city. A structured questionnaire with a series of close-ended questions was used for interview schedules.
Results: Analysis of data revealed that most of the children came to Dhaka in pursuit of a better living standard. They are mostly engaged in flower, water or chocolate-selling. The amount of their daily earnings is very low and is hardly enough to manage three meals a day. Most of them sleep on the pavements and those places are not even fixed. They keep changing places depending on wherever they find a place. Sleeping on filthy places under open sky, no wonder they suffer from different skin diseases and are vulnerable to various other diseases. They live through continuous change of coping strategies. Their parents, siblings, relatives and peer groups are at the center of their social network relying on which they survive in the city.
Conclusion: To put it simply, sufferings of street-working children know no bounds. They fight much more hardship than we can even imagine from the outside.
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