Headline, July 15 2021/ ''' '' THE VULNERABLE-STUDENTS TAP '' '''



THE COVID - ORPHANED - STUDENTS OF INDIA : This is turning into a heart-wrenching spasm for the Global Founder Framers of The World Students Society. So, !WOW! pauses to honor student Medha Pande, a law student at Delhi University.

'MOTHER, when will you come?' The Global Founder Framers assures student Medha Pande, that it will keep this issue a live-wire undertaking and keep all state governments in India, under informed scrutiny.

The government promises aid, but the children's - students position leaves them at a very grave risk.

IN A SMALL - COLORFULLY PAINTED HOUSE ON India's eastern coast, G. Sonali Reddy cooks meals and feeds her younger siblings by day and rocks them to sleep at night, hoping to assuage their fears, just as her mother would.

Sonali, herself still a child at 14, is her family's caretaker. Several years ago, her father took his own life. Then in May, her mother Sabita contracted Covid-19 as a calamitous wave of infections swept across India. Within hours of reaching the closest city hospital with medical oxygen, Ms. Reddy was dead.

''My mother kept us safe like an umbrella does, from the heat and rain of life,'' said Sonali, holding back tears. '' I imagine her being close to me. That's what keeps me going.''

Sonali and her siblings are among more than 3,000 Indian children who have been orphaned during the pandemic, according to state governments. They are a heart-rendering testament to the devastation wreaked on families as the coronavirus has erased hundreds of thousands of lives across the country.

Even with all that has been lost, the orphans plight has punctured the public consciousness, an acknowledgement of the profound challenges they face in a country already awash in vulnerable children / students.

Indian states have announced compensation of about $7 to $68 per month for each orphan, along with promises of food and free education. PM Narendra Modi vowed in a tweet to ''ensure a life of dignity and opportunity'' for the children.

But advocates fear that when the attention inevitably fades, the orphans will be left susceptible to neglect and exploitation.

Already, the children, shellshocked in some cases from the loss of their entire families, have found it difficult to procure death certificates to qualify for government benefits. Some will also find it hard to return to school.

In the longer term, many orphans from poor families in remote areas face the risk of human trafficking and child marriage. Trafficking of children is rampant in India, where they are enslaved for work or sex. And the country has the largest number of child brides in the world. according to Unicef.

Adoption is not an option for many of the orphans, given cultural taboos against the practice. Older children, in particular, often cannot be matched.

''The government is trying to save its face as the catastrophic tragedy ravaged India,'' said Medha Pande, a law faculty student at Delhi University who has written about sociological issues arising from the pandemic.

'' They came out looking unprepared,'' she added. ''They are just creating a subgroup out of a larger group of vulnerable children, saying they can easily look after them.''

On a recent morning, officials in the village of Pattapur, in the lush state of Odisha, arrived at Sonali's home, where her maternal grandmother has moved in after her daughter's death.

They had come to hand over an ''orphan pension'' to the children, enough money to last for the summer. Bank accounts were opened in their names. The officials dropped off large bags of rice.

Saucer eyed, Sonali listened carefully as they rattled off a list of instructions for gaining access to her bank account. Her siblings - Jagabalia, 8, and Bhabana, 5 - looked on listlessly, clutching their sister's blue dress.

Even before her mother's death, the family had a meager existence. Newly widowed, Ms. Reddy opened a small snack shop in the front room of their home. She spent what little money she had to provide after-school study for Sonali.

With her father gone, Sonali was especially close to her mother.

'' My siblings beg me : ' We want to go to mummy,'' Sonali said as she fiddled with her thumbs. '' When our father passed away, we thought, 'At least mummy is there.' Now the virus has taken her away too.''

Hundreds of miles away in the southern city of Hyderabad, 13-year-old G. Sathwik Reddy - no relation to Sonali - hears similar please from his sister after their parents died during the peak of India's recent waves of infections.

When his sister, Haanvi, 3, asks for ''mummy'' and ''daddy,''  he tells her simply. ''They will come home tomorrow.''

The overwhelming sadness of this publishing will continue into the future. The World Students Society thanks author Suhasini Raj.

With most loving and respectful dedication to all the Covid-19 orphaned students of India, to all Mothers, and then Mankind, Students, Professors and Teachers..   

See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society - for every subject in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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