By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe
New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANSlife): There are millions of orphan children across India, who lack the basic facilities required for survival. Having lost their parents at a very young age, they are not fortunate enough to receive encouragement or support and struggle to build their lives.
According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), India is home to 29.6 million orphaned and abandoned children. Another study by an international children's charity for orphaned and abandoned children found that 4 per cent (or 20 million) of India's child population are orphans, a figure projected to increase by 2021.
As children are considered the future of the nation, they need to be nurtured and taken care of. With such an overwhelming number of suffering children, it is natural to think about implementing affirmative action, as it could turn them into self-reliant citizens of the country.
Several NGOs are supporting orphaned and vulnerable children in India, so that they have a better quality of life. They are doing so by providing free education, and creating a holistic set of opportunities for their all-round development.
Preeti Seth, Senior Manager Program of Miracle Foundation India shares five ways to make orphaned children an ‘Atmanirbhar' - self dependent citizen.
Providing children a caring environment
A child's formative years are the most crucial for their emotional, social, and mental well-being. During these years, they register memories and experiences that reinforce into beliefs. Lack of parental care deprives them of a positive environment during their growing years. It is imperative that a familial environment providing emotional support and care is initiated for them. Social and emotional development involves several interrelated areas of development, including social interaction, emotional awareness, and self-reliance. Through these positive reinforcements, children learn to overcome difficulties.
Taking care of their nutrition and health
Abandoned or orphaned children face several nutritional challenges, due to lack of homely supervision. They often end up skipping meals and remain in the dark about their next source of food, which in turn creates a nutritional gap. With little to no food, their immune system weakens severely, making them vulnerable to several diseases. This nutritional gap can jeopardize both the mental and physical well-being of children.
Jeff Bridges, an American actor, said, "Poverty is a complex issue, but feeding a child isn't". Therefore, a small stipend or assistance with feeding impoverished children, could help them in their growth and development.
Schooling and education
Education is the right of every child. Providing them the requisite resources can propel their lives forward, helping them gain worldly knowledge. With a renewed confidence and outlook, they will be able to cope with challenges better. Further to this, they could lead a better quality of life and shape their futures. The primary aim of education is to ensure that every child gains a holistic foundation, to become responsible and compassionate citizens of the country. It could further enhance their chances to get employed by making them self-reliant.
Provide career counselling and personality development
Counselling plays an important role in dealing with psychological issues like fear, memories of abuse etc. It is a critical component to get their lives back to normal, as it provides them personalized support, which is necessary to set realistic expectations during the developmental years. Thus, delivering effective counselling sessions could work wonders in grooming their overall personality, and in making suitable career choices.
Empower orphaned and vulnerable children through skill development
Life skills are essentially those abilities that help promote mental well-being and competence in young people when they face the realities of life. Teaching life skills to orphans and vulnerable children develops their cognitive abilities, which could assist them in dealing with critical situations. They will begin to understand real-life problems and choose effective solutions. Furthermore, it can build a strong defence mechanism against anxiety issues, and boost their interpersonal skills and self-confidence.