29-year-old Ashish Sharma left his comfort to walk across the country covering total 17,000 km padyatra as a part of a campaign called ‘Unmukt India’ launched on August 22, 2017, from Jammu. Ashish who reached Dhanbad in Jharkhand on Wednesday said, he had to create awareness on the plight of child beggars and the need to rehabilitate them in society.
One must be wondering, what could have inspired him to take this step and to get out of his comfort zone to make efforts for child beggars. Once, when Ashish had an encounter with a nine-year-old drug addict child begging on a street in Delhi’s Rohini area, he was shaken to behold that and decided to travel through the length and breadth of India on foot to create awareness about the need to rehabilitate these children and eliminate child begging from India.
“Most people think of ‘urchins’ as a nuisance, but they are also kids who have had very unfortunate or tragic lives. They deserve to get a shot at life, at health, education and sports,” said Ashish.
Ashish, walks around 35 km to 40 km daily with his backpack holding an Indian Indian Tricolour. He had a normal childhood with least struggle in Delhi.
“A boy of nine watches cartoons on TV, plays cricket and tries to avoid doing homework. Imagine the contrast, a nine-year-old drug addict begging on the street. Though I personally put eight such boys to school after meeting the first one at Rohini in Delhi 18 months ago, and I am bearing their educational expenses, I think the government and society as a whole should come forward to curb child begging,” said Ashish while talking to a reporter from The Telegraph.
“Besides interacting with the people and the media, I am also trying to interact with IAS and IPS officers wherever to discuss ways to rehabilitate child beggars at a structured, policy level,” said Ashish.