'Those who do not know their parent's name cannot take birth registration certificates as the existing laws of the country do not support it'
Children who live on the streets separated from or abandoned by their parents, face several problems being unable to obtain birth certificates, speakers said.
Quamrun Nahar, program officer (education and development) of Caritas Bangladesh, at a discussion, “Story of Urban Street Children in the Fourth Annual National Conference on Urban Resilience to Climate Change – Building Climate-Resilient, Migrant-Friendly Cities and Towns,” said the birth registration of children is a major hurdle in their development.
“Those who do not know their parents’ names cannot take birth registration certificates as the existing laws of the country do not support it,” she said.
For early education that might not pose a problem, but when they want to appear in any examinations like PSC or JSC, the certificate is required, and so they are forced to dropout, rights activists said.
They not only cannot continue their schooling but also cannot secure a job as the certificate is mandatory. Girls suffer the most and most of them end up in prostitution, Quamrun Nahar explained.
Morsheda Parvin, senior specialist (education) of UCEP, said the number of street children is increasing day by day, as the children do not enjoy an education though their parents express keen interest in educating them.
She said, to achieve SDGs as well as to ensure a smooth development of all, the foremost work for teachers in schools is to make them dreamers.
Aftabuzzaman, executive director of APON Foundation, said there is no specific data for an estimate of the number of street children.
“If there is no data, it’s not possible for the government to take any effective measures for them,” he added.
In reply to a government query concerning long term planning for combating climate change, chief guest Dr Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCAD), said: "I suggest making every girl child (irrespective of status) a climate champion who would not only have a quality education but also know climate change effectively."
“Only then the country will get the best of the long term benefit,” he added.
To achieve SDGs, there is no alternative but to bring every child into the development process and so all need to act jointly, specifying the target based on the period of implementation to bring forth the best output, Quamrun Nahar suggested.