World Vision

Prevention and Rehabilitation of Children Living on the Street, Chennai, South East India

The project goal is to enable at least 2000 street and working children of Chennai to improve the quality of life through prevention, restoration and advocacy initiatives.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from to

Registered Charity in England and Wales (285908)





  • Human Rights/AdvocacyHuman Rights/Advocacy


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Older PeopleOlder People
  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)
  • OtherOther



Chennai is not the largest city in India, but it has become a real magnet for families living on the street and runaway children. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu State situated in southern India and is the fourth largest metropolitan city of India having more than 7 million people. 35% of the total population are living in approximately 1,800 slums spread across the length and breadth of the city and every slum has in the region of 2,000 – 10,000 households. Pavement dwelling families live harsh lives, their homes consist of plastic sheets over small areas of the street. No sanitation, no electricity and no running water – unless it is driving rain in the monsoon season. Many families are broken with mothers left to support the children. Unfortunately in these circumstances,children are often seen as an ‘investment’. They are sent out to bring in money any way that they can.This often involves dangerous work such as begging, rag picking, working for gangs, cleaning and selling goods on the beach, making the children vulnerable to others and to diseases.Pavement dwellers are usually living on streets with their families as migrant communities for several years working as casual labourers in infrastructure jobs. Children can often be considered as an investment, usually the average household size is larger with five to eight members not unusual. Early marriage, broken families, single mother headed families and polygamy are quite common among several pavement dwelling communities with education status of these families being very low. As a result of this lifestyle the children become extremely disempowered, making them vulnerable to a number of negative situations including exploitation, sexual abuse, discrimination and ill health, to name but a few. Other issues include:• No access to basic civic amenities such as a electricity, water and sewerage/toilets • Alcoholism, sex working and drug peddling is common • Many of the children don’t have their births registered so have no ration cards of voter identity cards to prove their citizenship and so are treated as politically insignificant of cannot gain access to social welfare schemes or fair price shop government initiatives for vulnerable groups. In order to address the above issues, the project aims to enable at least 2000 street and working children of Chennai to improve the quality of life through prevention, restoration and advocacy initiatives. The project will focus on 20 areas identified as areas prone to children living on the street. The key to success of the programme is to try and find children immediately as they land in railway or bus stations, as once they enter onto the streets they are not only harder to find but also harder to rehabilitate.