Kristian Bertel | Photography
Archive story
In this archive story we are meeting a Street child in the traffic-rushed streets of Delhi, India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
Street children in India are mostly concentrated in the streets with traffic and even before the traffic lights and the dimming, with their things they want to sell. It is the fervent hope of the street children that people will buy what they have to sell. In Delhi the photographer portrayed an Indian street child a photo that in many ways portray an important cultural topic in India.
Street children in India are mostly concentrated in the streets with traffic and even before the traffic lights and the dimming, with their things they want to sell. It is the fervent hope of the street children that people will buy what they have to sell. In Delhi the photographer portrayed an Indian street child a photo that in many ways portray an important cultural topic in India.
Kristian Bertel, Photographer By Kristian Bertel, Photographer
– Updated on March 25, 2024

Street child in Delhi

As a photographer and traveler in India it is hard to ignore the street children in the Delhi streets, when driving from one destination in India to another in a comfortable car seat. Heart-wrenching sceneries just outside the car made the photographer interested in telling the stories of the life conditions of the street children he encountered on his journey to Delhi, India.

What is a street child?

Street children are minors who live and survive on the streets. They often grow up in public landfills, train stations or under the bridges of the world's major cities. Because of conflicts with their family, these children do not want to or cannot return home.

Everyday counts for a street child
Street children are minors who live and survive on the streets. They often grow up in public landfills, train stations, our under the bridges of the world's major cities. Because of conflicts with their family, these children do not want to or cannot return home. So why does a child live on the streets? The phenomenon of street children is actually multifaceted and the combination of familial, economic, social and political factors play an important role in their situation. It is therefore very difficult to single out one or more causes. However, children who have been questioned say that family, poverty, abuse, war and so on are often why they left for the streets.

As a traveler and a photographer he asked himself what are the problems encountered by Street children in India and street children are confronted by a large number of problems. In fact, growing up in an environment generally regarded as dangerous, they incur considerable risks. As a consequence, some of their rights are very often compromised and these street children often do not have access to a healthy and sufficient diet and they should have rights to food. Sometimes they do not even have food, because living on the streets, they do not produce any and do not have money to buy. Also, these children do not benefit from a balanced diet, where they eat what they can find.

"Sometimes, when street children have the choice, they even favour unhealthy foods such as ice cream, cakes and so on and so run the risk of malnutrition. Growth problems are also common with these children and the health of children growing up on the streets is strongly compromised and they should also have rights to health"

In fact, they do not have access to sanitary facilities, where they are often dirty and infested with fleas. Also, because of their lack of hygiene, street children in India are exposed to different diseases and their health is often troubling. Without a family to take care of them, these youth must take care of themselves.

Traffic light beggars are a common sight
In many cities around the world, traffic light beggars are a common sight. These individuals often stand at busy intersections, holding up signs or asking for money. While some may offer to clean windows or perform other services for money, the majority simply ask for donations. Unfortunately, this type of begging can be a nuisance and is often associated with social problems. They are often associated with poverty and homelessness. In some cities, it has become a serious issue as more and more people turn to begging as a form of income and this type of begging can lead to other forms of crime, such as theft or drug use. It also lowers the quality of life in the area, as it often includes aggressive behavior and aggressive panhandling.

Drivers can be distracted by beggars
In addition to the social issues associated with traffic light beggars, there are also safety concerns. Drivers can be distracted by beggars, which can lead to traffic accidents. Furthermore, these individuals often block sidewalks and intersections, making it difficult for pedestrians to cross the street safely. In order to address these issues, many cities are taking steps to reduce the number of traffic light beggars. In some cases, this involves providing more social services to individuals in need. In other cases, harsher penalties are imposed for those caught begging. Unfortunately, these measures are not always successful.

"Many cities have resorted to simply banning begging at intersections, which does not solve the underlying problem. In addition, some beggars simply move to a different intersection, making it difficult to enforce the ban. In conclusion, traffic light beggars are a serious problem in many cities. These individuals often struggle with poverty and homelessness and their presence can lead to other social problems. Furthermore, they can be a safety hazard, distracting drivers and blocking sidewalks. While some cities have taken steps to address this issue, it is still a major challenge"

Street children, India's wide-ranging problem
Additionally, street children, to escape their reality, often use cannabis, alcohol or inhale natural gas. Unfortunately, these very hard living conditions, have a negative impact not only on their physical and psychosocial development, but also on their cultural and economic development. Street children are obviously not educated and should also have the right for education. Because of this, they do not have the same opportunities as other children. In fact, because they do not see a future for themselves and because they have no professional training, they are hindered from finding a job and from finally leaving the streets.

Seen as marginals Indian street youth are often victims of discrimination. Generally, adults have prejudices that stigmatise them as street children and consequently, they are often associated with the dangers of the streets. It is often difficult for these children to reintegrate into society.

What can be done to help street children?
The problem of street children is dependant on their situation and not on their status. In fact, each child has a personal history with the street that cannot be generalised. Because of this, the care of street children must, to be effective, hinge on the different situations on the streets, in other words, on the many child profiles and it is important to analyse the relationship a child has with the street.

"In order to better understand children living and growing up on the streets, it is essential both to make them participate and to put them in contact with key institutions or individuals looking to understand the structural causes of their situation"

Number of street children in India
The Indian government expresses itself very reluctantly about the situation of street childre and there is an official estimate from 1997, after which there will be 11 million street children. 420,000 are believed to live in the 6 largest cities in the country. Most of these children are between 8 and 12 years old. On the government side, no attempt has been made since 1997 to update and differentiate these figures and according to Human Rights Watch and other organizations, the number of Indian street children aged between 6 and 15 is around 18 to 20 million. In addition, there are estimates of 40 million street children. These are, however, too high.

Street children in the big metropolises
Street children in the classical sense can be found in India almost without exception in cities with a population of approximately 50,000 inhabitants. In Northern and Central India there are more road children than in South India. This has to do with the fact that there are not many big cities. On the other hand, the poverty situation depends on the political situation in the individual federal state. In the former state of Kerala, in the south-west of India, there are hardly any street children.

Despite its large metropolitan areas, India is still a country of villages whose number is estimated to be over one million. Indian street children almost invariably live in the big cities. Many of the children or their families come from rural areas and thus from villages. Most of the street children lived in unhygienic, neglected and unspectacular circumstances. Many suffer from malnutrition and diseases like 'Tuberculosis', 'Typhus', 'Leprosy', 'Malaria' or 'AIDS'. In addition, they are quickly dependent on drugs and alcohol and they suffer from exhaust fumes.

Diseases amongst the street children
It is striking that many suffer from skin diseases and bone fractures. These diseases usually remain untreated and unaffected. Insecurity and discontinuity of life on the road cause mental illness in many children. The psychological traumatization as a result of neglect, neglect, insecurity, lack of protection, exploitation, abuse, abuse, hunger and dependencies of all kinds are serious. Specific questions in dealing with street children in India. The treatment of street children in India is ambivalent and the children are highly appreciated, but the image of street children living in the cities of the country in misery has been part of everyday life for many decades and hardly seems to surprise anyone.

Street children are there and are not really seen and perceived. Many meet with defenses and contempt and some support them with small money donations. Religious representations of 'Karma', 'Dharma' and 'Moksha' in Hinduism are apt to reinforce a certain indifference. Many Hindus do not seem to feel compassion and do not look down towards street children against energetic action and the existence of these children appears to them as a result of a bad 'Karma'.

Children are therefore responsible for the fact that they are suffering from such adverse circumstances. Anyone who feels compassion and decides to be a small support can strengthen or improve his own 'Karma'. For pious Hindus, the caste or the 'Jalitza dynasty' should also play a role in dealing with street residents. Although religious traditions and imprints are decisive, it is difficult to make clear and universally valid statements in this field. What had been forgotten, however, was the fact that everyone is addressed by everyone, but also by everyone. "- Hello, how are you?", "- Please, take a look?" And "- Hello, where do you come from?" Are the racers on the street. As soon as one shows a single reaction, the contact is made from the perspective of the counterpart, and then biting is announced. If one does not react at all, many times bad obituaries come. It took some time for the photographer to find the only correct reaction to the very annoying behavior on this road, smile, say nothing and go on.

After the second and third run of this road, a noticeable decrease in the response is already noted, because most of them have a very good sense of reassurance here and then also let up when they were unsuccessful for the first time. And at the latest, when you sit on a small stool next to horny cars and 'Tuk-tuks' and a henna tattoo can be painted on the arm, the picture changes, as you can see later.

Air pollution in Delhi
Delhi is the most polluted city in the world and according to one estimate, air pollution causes the death of about 10,500 people in Delhi every year. It is not only street children alone that India deals with. Despite national legislation prohibiting child labour, human-rights groups believe India has an estimated 60 million child labourers, which is the highest rate in the world. Poorly enforced laws, Child poverty and lack of a social-security system are cited as a major causes of the problem. The harsh reality for many low-income families is that they simply cannot afford to support their children, so they send them out to work in order to survive and the majority of India's child labourers work in the agricultural industry, while others work on construction sites or as rag pickers, carpet weavers or brick makers.

See this video of street children made by The Hindu.

The photographer's own experience of street children in India
"- Given the road conditions in India, this is not a country for novice drivers and also as a photographer photographing street children in heavy traffic can be difficult. Cows and people can be crossing the carriageway to broken-down trucks, pedestrians on the road and perpetual pothholes and unmarked speed humps can also be seen. My pictures in general have a profound focus on the imaginative in my photographic work on the relationship between human nature and culture. A focus that creates a reflection on the traditional order of observing", the Photographer says.

"- Photography has the power to capture the struggles of poverty and tell stories that can make an impact on the world such as with this street child. It can also be a profoundly moving experience for a photographer to witness such poverty on a personal level. For photographers in India, this experience can be especially profound. India is known for its vast population and extreme levels of poverty and for a photographer to witness and capture these struggles can be an emotional journey", the Photographer says again.

"- Photographers who photograph poverty in India often experience a range of emotions during their time there. It can be difficult to look at such suffering on a day-to-day basis, especially when the faces of those impacted by poverty are so vivid and heartbreaking. At the same time, there can be a sense of hope and pride as the photographer sees the resilience of the people and how they manage to survive despite the difficult odds they face
. In addition to the range of emotions, photographers might also encounter unique situations and challenges. They will have to deal with potential cultural differences, trying to approach and talk to people in an appropriate manner and sorting through vast amounts of photographic material. At the same time, there will be moments of joy and beauty that can be found despite the hardship. Photographers likely will also feel a great sense of accomplishment, knowing they are giving an opportunity to tell these stories and bring attention to poverty in India", the Photographer says again.

Read also:  Delhi beggar girl

Delhi beggar girl

Read also:  Delhi beggar girl

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of a street child in Delhi. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.