On May 28, India’s Supreme Court issued a directive to the government on the protection of children orphaned during the second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak. During the pandemic, days went by with no nourishment for the children. We don’t know how many children were affected during this time period. Orphaned children have long been at risk of sliding between the cracks of society. However, this issue has been largely disregarded, and the Covid crisis has provided us with an opportunity to revisit this issue.
The first issue emerges as a result of the child’s caste and family structure. Many times, after the death of the parents, the child’s relatives refuse to assume care for the child. Even if the child has a family, they may be unable to pay for the child’s education and well-being owing to financial constraints. In situations like these, the youngster may not receive the help and guidance he or she needs to succeed in life.
If a child enrols in an institute and finds a room in the hostel, he or she may not have someone to assist them with their concerns. A hostel could be the first and last resort for an orphaned child with no other family support. Unfortunately, many state governments prohibit children under the age of 18 from staying in a hostel. As a result, when they finish high school or college, they have nowhere to go. Many students have issues with official documents, such as Aadhar cards and Pan cards.
In this state of helplessness, kids frequently choose the wrong path, putting them in dangerous situations. Because the government is legally obligated by the Constitution to ensure the welfare of children, the state governments can be a key source of assistance. The Maharashtra government recently altered the norm, allowing orphaned youngsters to reside in hostels until they are 23 years old. Steps must be done, however, to ensure that future generations are not confronted with the same issues. The government can take the following steps in this regard: A yearly survey of orphan children will be conducted at the district and block levels.
No child’s identity should be compromised, hence government paperwork should be delivered on time. Many government projects and initiatives that run parallel to the values of liberty, equality, and social justice should be established. A permanent fund should be established by the government and, if possible, local-level NGO’s to ensure that the child is not financially disadvantaged.
Every child has the right to an education and a happy life. The death of a parent or a loved one can have a significant impact on a child.
Because they have no one to talk to and express their grievances with, the child’s mental health may be harmed. All children should have access to counsellors via phone or one-on-one sessions with whom they can openly communicate their feelings.
Children are said to be the country’s future. So, how can we construct a positive future with 30% of children living in poverty? It’s past time to address and fix these challenges so that all children have equal chance to live a fulfilling life and contribute to society.