The second wave of coronavirus has had a devastating impact in India and Nepal. SOS Children’s Villages are working hard to ease the impact on affected families and children.
With infections rising rapidly and hospitals struggling under the pressure of the second wave, the Government of Nepal imposed lockdown on the 29th April. SOS Children’s Villages have been monitoring the situation very closely. A month before the lockdown, they restricted access to the villages and began stockpiling food and essentials.
The health, safety and wellbeing of the children, young people, families, and staff that SOS Children’s Villages Nepal work with has remained their highest priority. Despite this, they could not completely prevent the entry of coronavirus into the villages. There are currently a total of 202 confirmed coronavirus cases. 61 have recovered and 141 are still isolating and receiving treatment. Fortunately, there are dedicated residential village nurses and the villages are well equipped with Emergency Management Kits including oxygen, PPE and sanitizer.
“In 2020, we were able to keep our children and young people safe from the effects of the virus; there were fewer than 10 cases. As the second wave struck the country with more transmissible variants, some children, young people, SOS mothers, and co-workers have been infected. It has been a much greater challenge for SOS Children’s Villages Nepal,” says Mr. Ishwori Prasad Sharma, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Nepal.
One of the biggest concerns has been for the families of the family strengthening programme. Many of the caregivers in the programme have lost their jobs. They are struggling to provide meals for their children whilst they await government support. Additionally, many SOS care leavers have found themselves out of work and struggling to support themselves.
Mr. Sharma further adds, “Loss of livelihood, has brought unprecedented challenges in the lives of the care leavers and many families in the community. Some care leavers have been receiving support, but more and more are turning to us for help. Likewise, many FS families who worked as daily wage laborers have been struggling to provide meals for their children and family members.”
SOS Children’s Villages in India are working tirelessly to provide both short-term and long-term care SOS Children’s Villages in India are working tirelessly to support children and families affected by the pandemic.
Children whose parents test positive for coronavirus and are undergoing treatment can be placed under short-term care until their parents/caregivers recover. Children who have lost parents and have no one to look after them can be placed under long-term care in our family-like care programmes in any of the SOS Children’s Villages across 22 states in India.
Last year, 21 children whose parents died of coronavirus were cared for at SOS Children’s Villages India. 18 were reunited with relatives, and three remained with SOS Children’s Villages. “We’ll be playing the same role in the second wave,” says Shekhar Malakar, assistant director of SOS Children’s Village, Khajuri Kalan, Bhopal. “We’ll take care of the children badly affected by the pandemic.”
As the number of positive cases and the number of deaths rise, so does the number of vulnerable children. Currently SOS India can care for around 1,000 children under short-term care and between 300 to 400 children under long-term care.
SOS Children’s Villages have also increased their family strengthening community outreach:
- Community kitchens for families impacted by coronavirus are just one example of this outreach project. So far, they have catered to 239 people across the country.
- They are providing medical care and wellbeing services. This includes a vaccination drive to encourage people to get vaccinated. -Personal hygiene and safety supplies are being distributed and there is a free ambulance service for coronavirus patients n in some locations.
- Livelihood support is being offered to over 350 caregivers. This includes extended monetary support to impacted families to help them to get back on their feet.
- SOS India are ensuring children continue to learn and grow by providing educational aids like tablets and tutors.
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