As India celebrates Children’s Day this 14th of November, we must remember an often overlooked pertinent issue: the numerous invisible children in child shelters waiting to reach permanent adoptive families.
Imagine being a child, abandoned for months or years on end, living in a shelter, not knowing if you will get the chance to have a family of your own. Unfortunately, this isn’t mere imagination for lakhs of children.
An NGO ‘Where Are India’s Children?’ has started an online petition asking media houses to include information about surrendering a child legally, whenever they report cases of child abandonment.
The gravity of the situation of India’s most vulnerable children escapes attention because it’s an under-reported topic in the media and hasn’t been prioritised by government, thus leading to a lack of awareness among the general public as a whole. But there are approximately 30 million orphaned and abandoned children in the country according to UNICEF.
In the first episode of eShe TV, where we meet interesting women and learn new things about our world, editor Aekta Kapoor talks to Pune-based child-rights campaigner Smriti Gupta about solutions for stopping child abandonment and creating awareness about ‘safe surrender’ of children to the legal adoption pool.
As COVID-19 has ravaged our nation, it has been particularly heart-wrenching to read stories about children who have become orphans, losing both parents to the disease. It’s impossible to know exactly how many are affected. Official numbers indicate we have lost more than 2.4 lakh people to COVID, with real numbers expected to be much higher. We can safely estimate that many thousands of young children have lost one or more caregivers, and the remaining family members may not be ready or capable to take them in.
A biennial award, Agami Prize recognizes innovative ideas that serve justice. Ideas that are backed by entrepreneurs who are paving the way for more of us to participate in making justice.
Smriti Gupta is a mother to two adopted girls and come November 14, Gupta, alongwith other parents, will be writing an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and heads of other government bodies. They want the authorities to take notice of Indian children, who are abandoned, orphaned and have not found their way to adoption pool.