COVID-19 has left thousands orphaned

"The COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as a child rights crisis. Today in India, children are losing parents and caregivers to the virus, leaving them extremely vulnerable and without parental care"

Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF's India representative

What does the future hold in store for these vulnerable kids?

Read below to know more about welfare measures by TN Government for children who have lost their parent(s) due to COVID-19 

Summary of G.O. No 24 of Social Welfare & Woman Empowerment Department Dt 11/06/2021 

For those children who have been Orphaned

– INR 5 lakh deposit to be paid with interest to such children when they turn 18. This is applicable when either the child has lost both parents due to COVID-19 OR one parent earlier and the second due to COVID

– Such children will be given preference in Govt homes, hostels, and all those expenses will be borne by the TN government

For other children

– INR 3 lakhs will be given to single parents as immediate relief

– Children who have lost both parents but living with guardians and not admitted to Child Care Institutions (CCI) will receive INR 3,000 per month until they turn 18

– Such children and their single parents will be given priority in all TN government schemes

You can read the Full G.O. here

Firstly, this is a commendable measure by the TN Government. While there is huge scope to improve Government-run CCIs and how the government accredits and deals with CCIs run by NGOs, but all that is for another day.

What should we as responsible citizens do?

– The TN Government is funding this through generous contributions to TN CM’s public relief fund, consider making a donation. I have and you should consider making an 80G tax-exempt donation too.

– If you know of such children within your community, help them access the government schemes, support them financially, emotionally. 

– To protect them from any abuse or trafficking 

  • Call 1098 Child Helpline number, they will assess the situation and take necessary steps.
  • Do not disclose the identity and whereabouts of the child to anyone.
  • Do not reshare social media posts with details of such children, also discourage your friends and family from doing so.
  •  Do not hand over the child to any unauthorized person or shelter.

– If you know any child who has lost one or both parents due to COVID-19 you can now refer them to Bhumi for a scholarship

What should we as citizens think about and do?

What about children whose parents pass away at other times? There are several thousand children who need your support, refer children for a Bhumi Scholarship. Bhumi scholarships reach a few thousand children each year.

In December 2015, post the Chennai Floods visiting an affected shelter home (CCI) made me cringe at the appalling living conditions. I thought if I had children, would I want them to grow up like this? and hence I should do something about it. The very next month I decided to quit my medical practice to join Bhumi full-time.

Start volunteering for children at a shelter home or planting a tree in your neighborhood. Build empathy in your children by taking them with you when you volunteer. That’s how we can build a more equal, influential, socially conscious society.

 WordSmith: Dr Prahalathan KK , Co-Founder-Bhumi

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