courtesy: gwaan on videosift
From Al-Jazeera English: Witness looks at the work of the Children's Development Bank (CDB) in India - a special kind of bank, run by street children for street children.
Street and working children constitute one of the most disadvantaged section of society as a result of homelessness, lack of family support, struggle for survival, vulnerability and exclusion from basic services such as health and education. Most of them suffer from malnutrition, hunger, health problems, substance abuse, harassment by the city police and railway authorities, physical and sexual abuse and a general neglect from civil society. Many of them from extremely poor families live a hand to mouth existence, earning meager amounts in rag picking, shoeshine, portering, street vending, as domestic or casual worker in shops and restaurants. They live their lives from day to day. And although they may have "dreams", there is no encouragement to plan for or to save for their future. Indeed there is no safe place where they can keep their money, and the temptation is to "blow" what they have earned on short-term gratification.
The Children's Development Bank is an innovative way for creating an alternative to the lifestyle for street and working children, which is dictated by their need for day-today survival, their vulnerability and a short-term perspective. Thus, it is important to provide opportunities for saving for their future and encouragement to do so by creating a safe place. Equally important is to create a way of channeling those very entrepreneurial skills that are needed for survival and directing these into income generation and employment, which can be linked to skills training being provided by organizations working with these children. Creating funds that are available to street and working children, many of whom have no identify card or birth certificate or address, and cannot get credit for setting up a business activity from existing sources, providing opportunities for positive self-development through designing, managing, leading and acting as advocates for street children's banks.
The Children's Development Bank focuses on improving the lives and the prospects of street and working children, empowering these children and equipping them with life skills needed for their development, linking simultaneously to economic enterprises.
The Bank is "Managed" by children, in effect as a cooperative. under the facilitating of adults Members set all rules for CDB functioning. These rules cover criteria for membership, eligibility for size of advance available, interest paid on savings and charged on advance, repayment terms and guarantees, etc.
The children's savings is recycled into advance. Enterprises may fail, children may run off to another city, or unrelated factors such as ill health or a family crisis (for those who are in touch with their families) may occur. That members of the Bank take responsibility for dealing with such issues is an important part of the process. It also makes the young people running he Bank extremely careful about how they offer advance and to whom; on the one hand they want to encourage loan-taking so that children can set up an enterprise, but on the other hand, they do not want to see their members' savings lost or the Bank fail due to bad advance. Soft advance is provided to children to continue education or technical training.
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