Grassroots Effort Needed to Address Social Ills

Grassroots Effort Needed to Address Social Ills  Grassroots Effort Needed to Address Social Ills

The secretary of the social committee of Tehran City Council says “cracking down on beggars and clearing cities of street children is not a permanent solution to the problem.”

Fatemeh Daneshvar maintained that NGOs and other community-based organizations should be engaged to reach out to street kids and mendicants and organize them in an effective way, MNA reported.    

‘’There should be a systematic response to the issue since casual remedies don’t work in the long term,’’ she said. Daneshvar further referred to President Hassan Rouhani’s recent criticism of the “sorry state of beggars and addicts on the streets” and said the main responsibility of dealing with this issue falls on the government but the Tehran Municipality and city council can also help. However, coordination among these institutions is ‘’unfortunately poor.’’  

Daneshvar noted that the city council aimed to work with the Social Security Organization but the cooperation is a ‘’very slow process. Although some good steps have been taken by the police department and the municipality, they are not adequate considering the ‘’scale of the problem.’’

 Root Causes

Daneshvar further emphasized the need to tackle the problem “at its root” and considered efforts like setting up temporary shelters for the homeless in winter as only ‘’palliatives’’ that do not address the root causes of homelessness. She regretted that there are no treatment centers for ‘’adolescent drug addiction’’ and stressed the need for ‘’specialist adolescent drug addiction service.’’  

Stating that the families of drug addicts are at immediate risk of abuse too, she asked NGOs and other community-based organizations to step up their efforts in preventive action. ‘’Unfortunately, only few NGOs are active,” she added.

Daneshvar said volunteers of community-based organizations must go on the streets and help the addicts ‘’head-on’’ for their rehabilitation and return to society. Much of the funds should come from the NGOs and big financial corporations can lend their support if there’s a shortfall in funding. ‘’Corporations should be  sensitive to the needs of the disadvantaged sections; why should some of these institutions be identifying the talents of rich kids, while the same can be done to help addicts or underprivileged children to have a new beginning,?’’ she asked.