April 23 2020

Distressed children are not alone, SOS India is protecting them

When we were still planning and strategising, our co-workers at the frontline were already prepared to help keep our children and local communities safe amidst the coronavirus pandemic. SOS Children’s Villages of India, a home to nearly 7,000 children, young adults and more than 440 “mothers”, residing in our facilities spread across 21 states & union territories, so far, have successfully kept ourselves protected from the onslaught of the virus. The sense of responsibility which was exemplified by our children & youngsters in maintaining cleanliness, personal hygiene and social distancing, both inside their “family home” as well as in their village campus and adherence to the advisories from their mother & co-workers have helped a lot in keeping the virus out of the four boundaries of our campuses.

To ensure the health and wellbeing of these vulnerable children, we have been taking informed decisions based on updated advisories shared by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). We have issued relevant advisories and our emergency teams are active and on alert in each location. In addition, we are taking precautionary measures as well. Our youth who are studying in colleges and universities in various cities have also been brought back to SOS homes. We have ensured to minimize the risks to the least levels by restricting movements and outdoor activities of children completely.

During this time of crises SOS India is standing by its vision to ensure that vulnerable children in India didn’t sleep on a hungry stomach, aloof from siblings, without a family and home to call their own!

Children’s safety is our priority – (Family Like Care)

Life is a journey that no one should take alone. Yet there are millions of children who have lost parental care and surviving each day on their own. At SOS Children’s Villages, we provide homes to these children so they can grow up in the warm embrace of a family until they are capable of living independently as contributing members of society.

Not only has SOS India been adhering to WHO recommended guidelines and lockdown restrictions but SOS Mothers too have been provided training in preventing and responding to COVID-19 infection. Complying with health directives, SOS Children’s Villages of India ensured all children and Mothers have face masks and hand sanitizers. SOS Villages have also restricted the entry of visitors, including Child Welfare Committee members, until further notice.

Doctors from government hospitals conducted COVID-19 awareness classes for SOS Mothers when the trial lockdown was announced. All family homes, offices and staff living quarters across SOS Villages are being sanitised regularly. All SOS Villages are tracking COVID-19 cases occurring within a radius of 7 kms. Each SOS House is stocked with hygiene kits comprising tissue papers, liquid soaps and hand sanitisers for the safety of children across Villages.

As schools and colleges are closed, children and youth are practicing yoga and physical exercises under the supervision of SOS Mothers and co-workers daily for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. This is helping them to cope with the lockdown anxiety and other stress related problems. Apart from this, various online classes have started for the children with the help of local government officials. Some children are also enhancing their awareness about the diseases through their art work.

​Giving a hand to the less privileged (Family Strengthening Programme)

Families experiencing crises or extreme hardship may have difficulty caring adequately for their children, and often lead to child abandonment. We work with families and communities to help them build their capacities so that children are well cared for and families stay together.

During such times, these children and families are likely to get most affected. And to prevent this, our Family Strengthening Programme teams across all the locations are keeping close track of any COVID-19 positive case being near our communities and in close vicinity, for immediately taking actions to prevent harm to these vulnerable children and families under our care.

One of the major challenge with these communities is to spread awareness and make them understand the consequences of this virus. But our teams are trying their best to reach out these people and make them understand the consequences of this diseases. They are spreading awareness about COVID-19 through various methods such as; putting up posters/ banners, circulation of electronic messages on Do’s and Don’ts in local languages etc.

Surprisingly, the attachment of our co-workers with these vulnerable families and children is amazing and they are working from home but counselling these people over phone and WhatsApp on how to not to panic but take precautions.

Sanitisation kits were also distributed across all supported communities with the help of government and other supporters. Many vulnerable families, who were earlier not availing government schemes, have been quickly linked to the state/central ministry schemes for BPL families and daily wage workers.

Now with the extension of lockdown period, it is becoming challenging for the caregivers to keep their children engaged and therefore, our teams are working round the clock taking online sessions, counselling parents, youth, and trying to keep young kids engaged and safe.

In such time of crisis, we need your help now more than ever. If you can contribute to support our efforts to protect the children who need it the most, please click here to donate. May these difficult times end soon and may we rise together as a community that has supported