An unprecedented crisis posing numerous challenges by Nidhi Lohia

By Volunteer Nidhi Lohia, FHI Kolkata

The normal lifestyle took an unprecedented turn with the outbreak of the pandemic- the spread of the novel Covid-19. The pandemic has brought our lives to a standstill, with the economy in a state of absolute doldrums. This pandemic has affected every section of society, especially the poor. Those languishing at the bottom of the social order are the ones that have been the worst hit, with hardly any means to sustain and survive. Underprivileged children are sure to face the wrath of the after-effects of this global distress and it may not only affect their present but also their future.

A certain section of the deprived kids, for instance- orphans, or the differently-abled ones, or the ones who reside in care homes run by numerous NGOs or those who are under the care of the government – are bound to be affected due to the crunch in cash resulting from the reduced funds and donations triggered by the economic crisis. This will eventually affect the growth of these children, whether physically as it can lead to increased cases of malnourishment or mentally, with the bare minimum primary education they receive, also brought to a complete halt with the lockdown.

On the other hand, those kids who primarily belong to poor households, hardly possessing any means to survive amidst the economic crisis, particularly the daily wage earners, are bound to be affected severely by this worldwide misery. With a large percentage of the population losing their jobs, it can lead to a surge in child labor as these families will look for ways to sustain, with all the abled bodies in a family pushed into the employment market; Basic education and development of life skills will take a backseat as hunger can drive human beings to take extreme steps. Malnourishment, poor health, and the widespread of diseases among these young souls will be one of the many outcomes of this global disaster.

We, the citizens of the country, especially the volunteers associated with the various NGOs, have a vital role to play to mitigate the various after-effects of this pandemic. We have to try and ensure that no underprivileged child dies of hunger or is deprived of basic education. The road ahead is strewn with impediments but we will have to overcome them.

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