An educational assistance policy that aims to financially support the educational requirements of children who lost their parents or primary earning members of the family to the COVID-19 virus.
The Coronavirus pandemic has been one of the worst tragedies that the world witnessed in the post-modern era. The death toll in India alone rose to upwards of 5 lakhs, despite the existence of modern medicine and progressive healthcare apparatus.
Just like any other natural disaster that has occurred before, COVID-19 has also mercilessly punished the weaker sections of our society more than any other. While a lot of us had money put aside for emergencies, a sort of savings pool which we could access at no better time than a worldwide pandemic, the same is not true for a farmer, or a fruit seller, or a daily-wage earner who witnessed a sudden ban on their source of livelihood.
One of the most vulnerable groups created as a result of the pandemic are children who have lost their parents or caregivers to this disease. Children who have lost one or both parents to the pandemic have been left exposed to all kinds of physiological, economic, and psychological vulnerabilities.
According to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, between April 1, 2020 and June 5, 2021, 3,621 children had lost both parents to the pandemic, 26,176 had lost one parent, and 274 had been abandoned. With no caretaker, no one to look after them, most of these children are forced by circumstances to prematurely start fending for themselves. Many children have had to drop out of schools because their families could not afford the tuition.
The education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said during August last year that around 15 crore children are currently out of the education system, with the secondary school dropout rate being as high as 17 percent. The figures are more alarming for girls. Thus, to prevent these children from falling into a future of illiteracy, Arthimpact Welfare Foundation is set to launch “Arth Prerna”, an educational assistance initiative. This initiative aims to financially support the educational requirements of children who have lost their primary earning parent to the COVID-19 pandemic and have no means left to support their schooling.
ARTH Foundation aims to ensure the continuity of education of each of these children. The target geography for the initiative is the state of UP. In concurrence with the United Nations- Sustainable Development Goal No.4 of Quality education, the initiative of “ARTH Prerna, building hope through education” will strive to extend financial support towards the education of 30 such students by 2025.
The initiative got officially launched in a virtual ceremony on 8th April, 2022. The attendees were asked to choose between two concurrent rooms where the issues regarding COVID-19 and its effect on children were discussed in parallel. The webinars focused on the status of the level of orphanhood created during COVID-19 and legalities regarding child rights. There was also a discussion on new policies being introduced during this time and schemes put in place by the government to help children battle the effects of the pandemic.
The pandemic has adversely affected the mental health and psyche of children who are already the most impressionable age group. Thus, this webinar gave us a chance to view the impact of the pandemic with a child-sensitive lens and pool our empathies to provide the best possible care to India’s future.
Session 1 included:
- Status of the level of orphanhood during COVID-19
- Discussion regarding government’s measures towards COVID-19
- Child sensitive lens towards COVID-19’s affects on orphaned children
- Integrated Child Protection Scheme
- Other schemes to help the children who lost the primary earning members of their family to the virus Speakers
- Sonal Kapoor, Founder Director, Protsahan India Foundation (Moderator)
- Puja Marwaha, CEO, CRY – Child Rights and You
- Sudarshan Suchi, CEO, Save the Children, India
- Smriti Gupta, Co-founder and CEO, Where Are India’s Children
- Soledad Herrero, Chief of Child Protection, UNICEF India
Session 2 included:
- Various ways in which COVID-19 has affected the children
- The physical impacts of the virus on children
- The affect on children’s psyche
- Parents and guardian’s role in management of these affects Speakers
- Amol Arora, Managing Director, Shemrock & Shemford Group of Schools (Moderator)
- Dr. Amrita Vohra, Director Education – GEMS India & Executive Principal – GEMS International School, Gurgaon
- Kavitha Jain, CEO, MDN Edify Education
- Riddhi Doshi, Child Psychologist, Parenting Counselor, TEDx Speaker – 3x & Founder, LAJA
- Basanti Caroline Roublin, Executive Director, TARA Child Protection & Empowerment India
MAIN POLICY LAUNCH
The ARTH Foundation was proud to launch the “ARTH Prerna” an educational assistance initiative. This initiative aims to financially support the education requirement of select children who have lost their parents/primary earning parent to the COVID-19 virus and have no means left to support their schooling. ARTH Foundation aims to support the education of each of these identified students for three years.