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The pandemic is taking back the conditions of Indian children by decades

Ugo d'Aloja - 15 Luglio 2021 - 0 commenti

India, May 2021: we were all shocked by the images transmitted by the media during the second wave of coronavirus infections that took India by surprise. With horror we saw the hospitals that were not able to accommodate all the patients, those who managed to be hospitalized were not treated for the lack of oxygen that had all been exported abroad when with presumption India proclaimed that it was already immune. The dead were so numerous that it was not possible to cremate them all, not even the wood to burn the corpses along the roads was sufficient. It was soon understood that the Delta variant, much more virulent and aggressive, has developed in India.

Some of our Indian friends from Care&ShareIndia, who on behalf of our association Mummy & Daddy onlus are involved in providing economic and health support to orphans and HIV-positive children welcomed at Daddy’s Home and Butterfly Hill, the reception facilities, have become ill despite being vaccinated with Indian vaccines. Luckily they all survived, even if some still suffer from Long Covid syndrome (this is the long-term consequences after the disease). The victims of the second wave could not be counted with precision, the official estimates speak of 300,000 deaths, other estimates multiply these values by 10.

Meanwhile, India, which always runs frenetically, is already reopening, in my opinion too hastily (there are too few vaccinated people, too many close contacts, very few masks worn; on the other hand there are really many Indians and which of you was down there, knows their community and promiscuous lifestyle). Once the death count is over, we are finally thinking about the survivors WHO ARE ABOVE ALL CHILDREN.

I share with you some information from the article I received this morning. A reality is described in English that brings back decades the condition of childhood in India.

The first very worrying fact is that the dead of the second wave have left many orphans. Often these are children who no longer have anyone to look after them. Consequently, the pandemic is causing a series of serious problems for children. These are hunger, malnutrition, drop out of school, child labor, arranged marriages of minors (girls with older men, usually) and the trafficking of minors for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

The first clue that things are taking a turn for the worse for children is the exponential increase in underage beggars at traffic lights in Mumbai and other cities in India. “They really lack the money to buy food” is the cry of pain launched by associations for the defense of children’s rights.

After the death of their father from Covid, the only source of income for the many large families, in many working realities distributed in the country, minor children have taken over in order to guarantee some income for the surviving family. In the meantime, the schools have closed and the sum of these factors has meant that many children have been sent to work.

It is in this situation of necessity that child traffickers find fertile ground to thrive. India has always been a country with very many poor people, despite the progress made in recent years, which has affected only a small part of the population. Before the pandemic, 20% of the population (at least 300 million people) was below the minimum subsistence level. In poverty, in social degradation, in the prejudice linked to the caste system, in ignorance lurks the information network available to child traffickers, a network often fed also by neighbors, in which the families of those who have nothing but their own children as a bargaining chip. It is horrible, it has always happened, we have seen it with our own eyes. These are the stories of the children we support, of the children that you who read me support from a distance to save them from an atrocious fate; it is sad to realize that the phenomenon, after so many years, is on the rise again.

Indian laws prohibit anything that happens to Indian children, but the dimensions of the tragedy are enormous, the laws are not enough. To those who trade in children, the data is clear: all these orphans are excellent merchandise for those looking for cheap labor, for those looking for girls to exploit, for those seeking to adopt children by evading government procedures, for those who trade in organs. The closure of schools has accentuated the problem. In India, only a small percentage of children and adolescents have had access to online classes. The digital gap in such a large and populous country is enormous between the luckiest and half of the population living in the countryside; without considering the huge amount of Indians who live in slums on the edge of cities.

Many Indian states have decreed a state of calamity after the second wave, assistance to orphans is on the agenda, but the phenomenon is of uncontrollable size. There are not only the orphans, but also all the children who without being orphans are not able to continue their life as before. All these children as a consequence of the pandemic are at risk of hunger, malnutrition, anxiety, fear, mental trauma, as a consequence of the lack of relationships that the school nurtured; for some the risk extends to marriages by juveniles, child labor exploitation, exploitation as sex slaves.

Indian children are vulnerable, as are all children, but the outcomes of the pandemic in India, due to its devastating effects and the enormity of its population, are amplifying the phenomenon uncontrollably. Some statistics reported by Indian newspapers such as the Hindu state that during the pandemic child labor increased by 280%; they are all children who went to school before the pandemic. One and a half million schools in India have closed, involving 250 million children, it is not known when they will reopen and it is not known how many children will return.

Other very crude data are those regarding sexual exploitation and abuse: on the death of the father, the only source of income for many families with many children is to send their eldest daughter into prostitution. The degradation in the Slums (the huge Indian slums) and in the countryside villages, where millions of unemployed workers and their families have returned to live, has accentuated the cases of abuse and incest.

They are all people who have to feed themselves, who don’t know how to pass the time; children are the weak link within these families in these communities. Who was in India with me is an eyewitness to several of these episodes. Anyone who knows me knows how many times we have been called to intervene in remote villages in the countryside or in the slums to bring children safely who could not be left in the hands of alcoholic parents, desperate and unable to even look after themselves. These are the stories of many of the children we support at a distance and with whom some of us were able to play, meet and embrace during our volunteer missions in India.

Unemployment in India is rising to levels that have never been known in the past: this induces little optimism for the future of children. For this reason, while waiting to be able to resume our missions in India (unthinkable at this moment) our commitment must not diminish. Thanks to your help and that of many supporters and big-hearted people, we are guaranteeing shelter, a meal, clothing, health care, school and love for hundreds of children.

Information leaking from India thanks to the direct testimonies of our friends and thanks to the free Indian press tell us that we must prepare ourselves for a further effort.

The reopening, the end of the lockdown that the Indian government is decreeing suggests that sooner or later a third wave may come; the Times Of India supports it with arguments that we know very well here in the West.

The pandemic, everywhere, has functioned as an accelerator of processes, processes that have already been going on for some time; one of these is the increase in the distance between those who are poor and those who are rich. While waiting for someone of the great of the earth, someone of those who have the power to decide to intervene, we ACT directly in our small, rolling our sleeves up. Mummy&Daddy onlus is an association made up of many normal people whose wealth is good will who have come together to help those who are weaker and less fortunate: ORPHAN CHILDREN. This is our mission, even if the pandemic has stopped the events and fundraising opportunities, we are ready to start again.

The association is based exclusively on voluntary work, we have no employees. Every cent that is donated will go directly to supporting poor, orphaned and abandoned children.

To help us:

Bank Transfer

Banca Credito Trevigiano di Caerano San Marco
IT 79 B 08399 61510 000000 352592
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Account held to:
Mummy&Daddy Onlus
Via San Marco 29/31 – 31031 Caerano San Marco (TV)
Tel: +39 3896012929

After making the transfer, contact the email for the subsequent issue of the receipt.



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