About 20 million children, which equates to about four percent of children in India, are orphaned. Of these, only 0.3 percent of children are orphaned as a result of parental death while the and rest have been abandoned. The figure is result of a study done by SOS Children’s Village by analysing data from National Family Health Survey-3 for the year 2005-06.
There are already a number of orphanages functioning in India and abroad, which operate under the sole premise of caring for orphaned children. NGOs connected with orphanages are often flooded with donations from philanthropists all around the word, who believe their donations are being received directly by the caretakers of the orphanage and being used for the betterment of the lives of the orphan children. A lackof monitoring and regulation means that sometimes the case can be that these donations are diverted for the livelihood of the people connected with the orphanages, rather than benefitting the children. Every week there is a new report in the local newspaper regarding inappropriate management of the orphanages around the country such as this article from Times of India which highlighted abuse of the orphans by the caretaker and another highlighting donations thatwere given by Rothschilds and diverted for personal benefit.
Donators believe that they are contributing to a noble cause and sometimes forget to cross-reference the viability of the orphanage. I would never say that all orphanages operate under such a guise and that no donations should be provided to them. All I want to emphasise upon is that one should cross check and regularly follow up to keep tabs onhow these orphanages function.
Aside from fnancial support, children living in orphanages benefit exponentially from a little TLC. A small gesture from our end - such as, say, taking time out and spending time with these kids - could help in shaping a wonderful future for these underprivileged kids. Volunteering at orphanages is another way of contributing. By donating time instead of money to an orphanage in India, you can provide love, care, affection, warmth and education to the orphans that require them the most. Volunteer assistance is usually always welcomed at orphanages.
A report by Hindustan Times quotes Rakesh Jinsi, Secretary General of the NGO SOS Children’s Village, as saying that in India, poverty has been a significant contributor to the high number of orphaned children while social unrest and terror --- militancy and naxalism -- are two other major factors behind the high number of orphans in certain states.
India is also brimming with remarkable institutions which contribute to the betterment of thousands of children. NGOs like SMILE, Sargam Sanstha, Help Age India (Dealing with older section of the society which also require love and support like the kids) and Give India are some of the many institutions which have helped in sustaining the faith of donors with regards to transparency within NGOs.
The Government of India has also taken significant steps concerning bettering of the lives of orphans. They recently included orphans in the category of "children belonging to disadvantaged group". In its plan, India wants to extend education to the millions of out-of-school and unprivileged children free of charge and schools have been ordered to fill 25 percent of their seats from the EWS and disadvantaged groups under the Right Tp Education Act.
I was recently introduced to newly inaugurated orphanage at my current working location in Cameroon called Mountain-kids. This orphanage was founded by my colleague, who discovered that her initial donations offered to an orphanage had been misused. She, together with four other Cameroonian friends, got together and went ahead with this noble mission to open their own orphanage. The Mountain Kids orphanage was inaugurated last Saturday 13 April. It was an enormous pleasure for me to witness the joy of these children who found themselves again surrounded by so much of love and affection. The thought that came to my mind during the orphanage inauguration was that, if we all start contributing within our own personal limit towards the betterment of society, this world would soon be able to get eradicate poverty and misery, two things which are still major concerns for almost 60 percent of the world’s population.
Author: Ajay Pal Singh Chabba/ RESET editorial
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