Although children are less likely to get infected by COVID, they are still one of the the most vulnerable demographic groups. In our conversations with grassroots partners, we heard time and again about how the lives of children were disrupted, and what consequences this had on their physical and mental health.
Pratishtha Sengupta from MANTRA, working in Kolkata:
The second wave has hit just as arrangements had been made for children, especially their education, and it has affected all families greatly. Avoiding physical contact remained the only mode [of protection], which posed a challenge for our field activists to link every child with her family. We mostly address the education aspect for children. We also spread awareness about precautions regarding infection, vaccination compliance for those eligible, and a future road map for children.
Tara Ahluwalia, Bal va Mahila Chetna Samiti, Bhilwada, Rajasthan:
Most of the staff and volunteers at BMCS have been indisposed for almost a month now, due to COVID (as of May 1). Important campaigns such as prevention of child marriages have been executed at a small scale and a lot of project related activities have been delayed or re-prioritized due to the pandemic.
Regi George, Tribal Health Initiative, Sittilingi, Dharmapuri district, Tamil Nadu:
School health clinics were not organized for the last year as schools were all closed. The Kalrayan clinics restarted recently after the first wave was under control. We may reconsider closing them again if the situation goes out of hand.
Swanirvar, North 24 Parganas (Sundarbans), West Bengal:
Schools and other institutions are closed. Thousands of migrant laborers are returning home especially from Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Noida and Navi Mumbai etc. Many of them have COVID-19 symptoms but did not visit hospitals for tests. Their children are starving, having only one meal a day. Nor do they have ration cards in West Bengal to avail of public ration services.
Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, Vadodara, Gujarat:
The community is facing health issues arising from side effects of the infection as well as general health ailments that went neglected due to the pandemic. There are vulnerable groups- children who have lost their parent(s), widows or the elderly- who no longer have family support. Food insecurity is increasing. There has been a further fall in the quality of education and school dropouts, especially in the rural/tribal areas.
Gayatri Datta (Sisters Living Works), Mumbai:
On May 1 we did a workshop on suicide prevention for a college in Mumbai with 100 students. They were suffering, and were very appreciative of the support. Some had friends who died by suicide due to the COVID situation. We are trying to see if we can go to colleges through Zoom and not just do workshops, but also have separate support groups for them.
Children around the world, irrespective of nationality, have experienced immense disruption to their lives over the last year. Please donate and support the children who are still facing the worst of the second wave.Latest updates on COVID relief Donate to COVID Relief Fund