CHILD CARE INSTITUTES: a home away from home
The standard instruction for all of us since day 1 of the lockdown has been “To Stay Home” and most certainly all of us have been staying indoors. We are doing so by spending quality time with our families, working from home, enjoying simple joys of tending to our passion, honing our flairs during the intensive 21 day-lockdown which has since been extended to six weeks – to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But have we ever so often thought about the ones who don’t have the same privilege as simple as staying HOME like us? We are talking about the children who reside in Childcare institutes.
Childcare institutes look after orphans, abandoned or surrendered children and children who are survivors of neglect, abuse, violence and trafficking. There are a total number of seven CCI’s in South District which consists of 3 children’s home, 1 juvenile observation home, 2 open shelters and 1 Specialized Adoption Agency. Upon visiting few CCIs under the district, you are greeted with infectious smiles that nearly powers you to forget the pandemic that is looming large and one which has claimed foothold and lives in many countries across the globe. Yet, the ambience in the Childcare institutes lets you forget the grim battlefield outside for once. Perhaps, it is the vibrant colours of the paintings and artwork that adorn the walls and passageways of these children’s home or the activities and fun games the children indulge in, that keeps the spirits of the children high even during such trying times. It is heartening to learn that the children ever since the closure of the schools post the lockdown, have been keeping themselves occupied through creative means of learning as well as outdoor activities such as gardening and occasional farming to cook what they have grown as these activities fosters not just focus and patience but also inculcates the importance of cooperation, teamwork and social skills in them.
The residents of the Childcare institutes have been provided with a haven, thanks to the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) of District Child Protection Unit under Social Justice and Welfare Department under the State Government. During these uncertain times, the State Government has also been seen providing essential material relief on a priority basis to these institutes so that the needs of the children are met. Efforts are also being made by DCPU’s team to reach out to those children and families in distress and under difficult circumstances using a 24/7 functional ChildLine number which gives access to these children to reach out to the concerned authorities for necessary help and support. The homes have also been encouraged to instil good hygiene practices and hand washing techniques amongst the children given COVID-19 and the said department has provided them with sanitizers and disinfectants to facilitate sanitation of the child care premises.
It is therefore important to provide care and emphasis to our children more so for the orphans, abandoned or children who have faced trauma at some points in their lives as they are the future of tomorrow. These young minds which are free of prejudices should be cared for so that they grow up to be compassionate, responsible and emotionally stable adults, they deserve continued care from stable caretakers and institutions who are irrevocably connected and available to the children.