Orphaned by COVID: The Grim Reality of India's Parentless Children
Traumatized children often find it difficult to obtain death certificates for government benefits, and some may struggle to return to school or to avoid human trafficking and child marriage.
Thousands of Indian children lost their parents during a calamitous wave of Coronavirus infections this spring.
The New York Times said that many of the orphans, who exceed 3,000 so far, face the risk of neglect and exploitation when the public opinion’s attention inevitably fades.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his support, with Indian provinces announcing compensations varying between 7 and 68 dollars per month for each orphan, along with promises of free food and education.
But advocates are concerned about long-term protection: Traumatized children often find it difficult to obtain death certificates for their parents to receive government benefits. Some may even struggle to return to school or to avoid human trafficking and child marriage.
Kahkashan Saifi, aged 9, lost her parents and then her home, as the landlord locked her and her siblings out after failing to pay rent. Almost every day, Kahkashan picks up the phone, calls her mother, and talks to her as if she was on the other end. She says: “Mother, when will you come? I miss you."
It is noteworthy that countries across the Asia-Pacific region are struggling with the outbreak of the pandemic, which is fueled by the Delta variant of the virus. Indonesia and Malaysia are cracking under pressure, whilst Japan and South Korea are imposing tough new restrictions.