CSA Newsletter | Volume 20 | April-2012

CSA Newsletter | Volume 20 | April-2012
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AFFECXN (Read: AFFECTION), is a first-of-its-kind newsletter focused on Child care and adoption, published by Catalysts for Social Action (CSA). This newsletter is one of the many initiatives that CSA has undertaken to address the issues of low child adoption rate and sub-optimal rehabilitation outcomes in the case of institutionalized children in India. To put this in context, there are an estimated 25 million destitute and orphaned children in India, languishing without proper care and no voice of their own. While adoption is a viable option for children below 6 years, approximately only 3000 adoptions take place in the country annually. Also, care conditions and rehabilitation outcomes in many orphanages are dismally poor. You are receiving this newsletter, because you have supported the cause at sometime in the recent past and we would like to keep you updated on various activities and news around the issue. We hope you like the latest edition, and look forward to your comments and suggestions as we step ahead in our endeavour.

Story of hope and change

This is not our story; and yet, the issues involved are so close to what we have been aiming at, that it makes it our story as well!

Basundhara, a rehabilitation Centre for Children, Women & Elders in Distress in Odisha, have as a part of their ongoing battle for child rights, brought out a Resource Book on unrecognized Child Care Institutions in Odisha. The book covers 160 institutions across 15 districts of Odisha (only a part of the entire state). There are approximately 10000 children (6263 male and 3574 female children). These are children who come under no Government scheme and are left to the goodwill/mercies of their care takers - generally accountable to no one!!

Basundhara has consistently, made attempts to highlight the issue. In 2003, in collaboration with CRY, Basundhara had conducted a study, identified 164 such agencies and informed the state government. Unfortunately, to quote from the preface to the book, ‘we are yet to notice any tangible outcome…’.

So what makes it different this time? Why is it a story of hope?

The Government has moved! The State WCD have issued a notification and the Secretary has issued a directive to all District Collectors and Officials concerned, to initiate corrective measures. Just one step forward but a step nevertheless!! Also, the resource book has congratulatory messages from all concerned authorities and Dignitaries-The Hon Governor, The Hon. Chief Minister, and several others. It is hoped that at the least, some of them will follow through with focused attention.

An interesting finding brought out in the Resource Book is that 70 of the 160 institutions, house female children. On an earlier occasion in a different context, CSA had highlighted that female children do not reach institutional care and perhaps languish in some relative’s home perhaps, neglected or as domestic labor. The Resource Book does not support that thinking and suggests a better state of affairs with regard to the girl child in Odisha than some other states.

Pritikanta Panda
Project Officer

Food for thought

Helping a child Vs. Legislations

I
t is mandatory to register even a chicken centre, so how an individual/a team, keep children without registration? Rightly therefore state governments mandate that every rehabilitation centre must be registered. To run an Orphanage therefore, one must follow the law and therefore understand the law. Can an uneducated, lay person keep pace with government regulation? If not, should only educated people be allowed to run a rehab centre. Can not an uneducated man with a great heart, serve the children with equal passion and vigor?

Recently the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), in a state raided an orphanage alleging that the orphanage was not licensed under The JJ Act. The children were ordered to be moved out of the orphanage into different government homes and the orphanage advised to shut shop. The fact however, is that several orphanages have been operating in different parts of the country, much before the JJ Act was passed. Many of those orphanages have not registered either because they are unaware of the regulation or simply because they are not able to match up to the procedural demands. Must they be raided and their closure ordered or should someone assist the orphanages in getting their registrations completed? The question is’ whose responsibility is the registration-the orphanage’s or, the WCD’s? /District authorities? And, is a notification (notwithstanding its legal validity), enough?

We at CSA have an excellent case-study; In Kalahandi district Iin Odisha, a daily-wage tribal laborer had started an Orphanage which was in due course supported by all sections of the local society. Unfortunately, being completely illiterate, the owner was unaware of either the need or the procedure to do the registration-until CSA intervened. We explained the requirement and helped the orphanage to get its registration. Now the agency Jasoda Anathashram, is a model for other unregistered agencies. In follow-through, CSA identified 30 more unrecognized institutions in the state and offered to assist the WCD with the registrations. Unfortunately there was no response.

More recently, BASUNDHARA in Odisha has done a similar study and the findings have been presented to the Government. Notifications and directives by the Government have followed. But is that enough? And if not, are more orphanages to be raided and closed? What happens to the children who are moved out-into new territory in other locations? Is there an emotional angle and must we awaken to it? Can the government take the help of ngos in the field and focus on getting the registrations through?

This is not just an Odisha-issue; the position is the same in the rest of India as well.

Pritikanta Panda
Project Officer, CSA

food
Story of hope and change

I recently visited a newly identified agency called Apang Kushthrogi Swavlaban Sastha in Dhule, Maharashtra. The agency had nine children waiting for parents (though many were yet to be declared free for adoption”). There I met Guddu, a 4 year old girl child. I learnt that Guddu was legally free but had remained un adopted; no one wanted a dark child. A lovely and bright child otherwise, the only deterrent was her dark skin. So she spent the best part of her childhood in the orphanage!

I had received an adoption enquiry from Arpita (name changed), a single mother from Hyderabad. Guddu-Arpita was an immediate connect; I referred Arpita to the Apang Kushthrogi Swavlaban Sanstha Arpita visited the agency, spent time with Guddu and decided, “This is my child”. Guddu found a home and now has a family!!

Arpita you are our Change Maker for the month. In today’s date and time, when there is so much focus on a fair skin, it is heartening that the skin color means nothing to you.

Pallavi Koli
Program Officer

News from the ground Zero

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Kale employee watched the IPL on the 8th April 2012. They promoted CSA by wearing CSA T-shirts and holding a CSA banner.
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Now distribution of Seasonal fruits has become an ongoing activity for CSA. During the month CSA distributed water melon to children from the Observation Home for Boys, Pune, Observation Home for Girls, Pune, Special needs’ Home , Mundhwa, Pune , Matoshree Niradhar Bal Aashtram, Pune , Sr. Valenteena’s Little heaven, Goa , Bethesa Life Center , Goa and Balikashram , Mumbai. Kale volunteers participated in a big way to conduct this activity at Goa and Mumbai

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The single DVD player at the Bethesda Life Center was damaged and the children could not listen to music (it was a favourite pastime). CSA donated a LG DVD player.

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A family from Mumbai adopted a 3 month-old baby boy from Takshshila Bahuuddeshiy Shikshan Sanstha ,Wardha on 26th April 2012

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A single parent from Hyderabad adopted a 4-year old baby girl from Apang Kushthrogi Swavlamban Sanstha, Dhule on 30 April 2012.

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Water melon get together
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Children from Balikashram enjoying with Kale employees
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CSA promotion
Come- Join the movement

The welfare of orphans depends on your contributions:

by Cheque:

made payable to “Catalysts for Social
Action” and sent to:
CSA
Kale Enclave, 685/2B & 2C,
1st Floor, Sharada Arcade,
Satara Road, Pune-411037,
Maharashtra, india.

by Credit Card:

please visit www.csa.org.in to donate online through ‘Give India' or Global Giving’ both of which are secure and independent web portals for donating to reputable Charities.

by Volunteering:

please contact us by phone
tel. 020-24227090
tel. 020-66083777

or by visiting www.csa.org.in

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