New Delhi: The outbreak of Novel Coronavirus has brought numerous challenges with itself; one of them is ensuring food and nutrition to all. With the daily wagers who live hand to mouth losing their job, it has become difficult for them to put food on their table and provide adequate nutrition to their children, an essential during growing years. The lockdown and a quest to make ends meet turned harsher for families with children returning from Child Care Institutes (CCI). Miracle Foundation India, a Delhi based non-governmental organisation (NGO) works with CCIs which support orphaned and vulnerable children, has come forward for the nutritional needs of children and their families.
In a conversation with NDTV, Nivedita DasGupta, India Country Head, Miracle Foundation recalled what led the organisation to support people in need during Coronavirus pandemic and said,
Miracle Foundation partners with 17 CCIs based in seven states including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh. Around mid-March, the CCI partners reported that children are being reunited with their families on either request of the parents/relatives or as guided by the local government authorities (District Child Protection Unit-DCPU). The CCIs began getting information that families, where the children have gone back to, are facing a problem of lack of food. Most parents (usually single mothers) are daily wage earners who had lost their work. This was alarming and Miracle Foundation India immediately stepped in and decided to extend support.
From Nutrition To Hygiene, Miracle Foundation India Touches All
During the Coronavirus crisis, CCI is bridging the gap between Miracle Foundation India and the children in need by extending the help provided by the NGO to the beneficiaries. Elaborating on how her organisation is helping the children affected by the lockdown, Ms DasGupta said,
We have extended financial assistance to CCIs for supporting the vulnerable and orphaned children. Under this initiative, we are providing cash transfers and relief packages to CCIs to ensure the overall health and wellbeing of the kids. Since most of them are based in remote locations and in-person distribution is not possible, we transfer money into the accounts of the families with guidance to buy necessary items like pulses, vegetables, eggs, milk, and others. In Gujarat, however, relief packages were physically delivered.
For instance, Ananth (named changed), a first-year BBA student from Tamil Nadu faced grave problems when he went back home. Ananth’s father doesn’t provide for the family financially and with the lockdown being announced, his mother was out of work, making it difficult for the sole breadwinner to support a family of five. When the family was struggling to make ends meet, Miracle Foundation India stepped with its relief package and assisted the family sail through these tough times.
Talking about the help provided by Miracle Foundation, a senior official from one of the CCIs in Maharashtra said,
We have students coming from tribal groups, and small villages and when they went back to their den, their daily nutrition intake stopped. We were figuring out a way to provide assistance to these students but it’s not just students, we had to look after their families as well so we worked with Miracle Foundation India and designed a monthly package costing Rs. 3,750 per family. To ensure the money is being used for what it’s destined for, we do a follow-up with students. Families who have smartphones often send us pictures as well.
This way, the Miracle Foundation India along with CCIs has provided food, groceries, and hygiene items to 400 children and their families in the month of April and May and is continuing for June and July.
Along with this, the NGO has undertaken the task of creating awareness about precautionary and preventive measures essential in the fight against COVID-19. Children and their families are educated about hand hygiene, and social distancing. In many CCIs, the local doctors held sessions on the same.
For the children who have joined their families, the CCI staff connects with them once a week to check on their food, health and any other issues they may have. Remote counselling is provided wherever needed. For the children staying at the CCIs, health check-ups including temperature is monitored every day. In several states, the Department of Women and Child Development has asked for a daily report on the health of the children, said Ms DasGupta.
Miracle Foundation India that works with the aim of empowering orphans to reach their full potential and for the same has been working with CCIs to support children plans to continue with its efforts.
Miracle Foundation India is committed to ensuring that the rights of the child are met. One of the key rights is the right to nutrition, signed off Ms DasGupta.
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