Impact of COVID 19 Pandemic on vulnerable children
Children are not the face of this pandemic, however they risk being among its biggest victims. Economic hardship experienced by families as a result of global economic downturn could result in hundreds of thousands of additional child deaths in 2020. Rising Malnutrition is expected as 368.5 million children across 143 countries who normally rely on school meals for a reliable source of daily nutrition must now look to other sources. The risks to mental health and well-being of the children are also considerable. Refugee and internally displaced children as well as those living in detention and situations of active conflict are especially vulnerable.
Social Safety net to provide food, health and education to children
At Shanti Ashram and the International Center for Child and Public Health, it was decided to look out for our most vulnerable children and women in our service villages.
The focus of creating this social safety net will include three important dimensions:
- Facilitating critical learning opportunities and educational linkages in the villages itself during lockdown
- Extension of child health services as the lockdown continues to affect disproportionately access to health services in low socioeconomic communities.
- Ensuring nutritional security for the most vulnerable children with local rural women entrepreneurs
More specifically, the safety net project will include the following initiatives for community capacity building:
- Ensuring Food security both through the Public Distribution System as well as curated emergency nutritious food supplies
- Create awareness and critical linkages between individual vulnerable families, Medical Doctors & Public Health services
- Create awareness on mental wellbeing through the ‘Child centered community outreach for social and mental wellbeing’
- Direct cash transfers to children living with HIV, without living parents and mother headed families living in poverty
- Ensure linkage and uptake of special Government services during the Pandemic
- Encouraging child participation including Online talent sharing by children
- Community cohesion initiatives like technology assisted support groups, working sessions and conference calls
- Community based mapping of vulnerable children by the field staff and linking them to Ashram’s development interventions for health, nutrition and personal hygiene.
- Learning hub sessions for high achievers and student Internships & Volunteering opportunities
‘Art in your Life’ : creating art and organizing art appreciation sessions for children
Time frame: 6 months from the initiation of the project
Whom do we serve?
Care of the most vulnerable children and women in the service villages of Shanti Ashram will be the main thrust of this initiative. The inclusion criteria will include children living with:
- Mother headed families
- Families living with HIV
- Families cared for by grandparents in the absence of (living or deceased) parents• Living in extreme poverty
- Access to clean and safe drinking water =Reduction of waterborne diseases
- Water for irrigation in agriculture & improved food security & nutrition
- Less burnouts for women and increased children school attendance