Right to Grow: The Case of Children in Orphanages

By The Editor: Siddharth Sehgal

These days we hear women protesting to get their right to worship equally with men at different temples and mosques around the country. Well, it’s a good start and if women groups keep their efforts persistent, who knows their prayers might be heard sooner than later. At least these groups are making themselves heard and they are garnering support from different sections of society, political and non political outfits but what about those who need someone else to raise their voice for them.

 If you get chance to visit an orphanage you’ll get to see a part of our society which has been widely ignored. Its not that people are unconcerned but I feel as a society we can do better. One problem these institutions face is lack of volunteers. Since the numbers of children’s are overwhelmingly more and those taking care are few, a lot of children don’t get the kind of attention they need. It’s just like a school, teachers pay attention to some and not so much to others. More often than not the caregivers at these institutions are so overwhelmed with running day to day activities that kids are left to themselves in terms of emotional support and they have a very good chance of going astray as they grow up. My arguments may or may not be true for each and every orphanage, some institutions might be doing a great job but there may be a lot of kids that might need help because these orphanages can only do so much. They depend on donations to put the food on table, pay the bills etc. and sometimes having a good heart is not enough. You, me or a concerned citizen may devote time and things while they can but government can change this situation for better in a much bigger way.

 First, government can encourage public to adopt kids from these institutions. Central, state governments run ads in newspapers, magazines, tv and radio about their schemes and achievements. They can spare some time and funds for this cause too. One thing to note hear is that ads related to Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) are already airing for public awareness which is commendable. Second, government can incentivize schools, NGOs, individuals or anyone for that matter who takes up responsibility of education and welfare of an orphan or a group of orphans by tax breaks and other benefits. Say, an individual spent Rs. 100 on the education of a kid from children’s home then he may claim Rs. 150 as a tax deduction. Third, we give reservation to women, disabled, SC, ST and many other people who live at the margins of our society. Why not these kids, they have no one to call mummy or papa and they need such encouragement more than others. Fourth, these institutions have a huge and untapped talent pool, though unprivileged but these kids can be guided to become scientist, architect, doctors and other contributing members of society. Army and other defense organizations can set up a recruitment camp every year. Similar camps can be arranged in areas of sports like athletics, football, cricket etc. Its an idea but that’s how everything starts.

 Every kid should get a fair chance at life. Some kids get spoiled in their parents affection and some don’t have parents to feel that love and warmth. Well it’s an ugly fact of life, we can’t change that but what we can change is our attitude towards these virtually outcasts and shape them into responsible citizens of future.

Note: If you feel that there is worth to this cause, we have started a signature campaign at Change.org aimed at our leaders to look into issues of the kids living in orphanages. The link is given below. We’d appreciate your support.

http://www.change.org/p/narendra-modi-arvind-kejriwal-law-for-education-of-kids-in-orphanages

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