Woes Of Running Destitute Center Unraveled

IMPHAL, Mar 31: Contrary to the general perception of the common public that destitute centers are one of the most secured havens for orphans, to those running these centers bringing up a girl child is an uphill task involving great risk.

While problem endured in bringing up a boy child at such a centre could be tackled in an appropriate manner the scenario gets complicated in case of the girl inmate.

Sharing challenges faced in providing shelter to a destitute girl, care-taker of Destitute Children Home, Lei-ingkhol (Chingmeirong) Ahanthem Tolen said once a girl nears age of maturity a sense of insecurity engulfs the centre as they become vulnerable to various forms of crime.

Informing that it is a great relief when relatives show up to claim custody of a girl inmate when she grows up, the care-taker explained that lack of resource, especially man-power to keep round the clock vigil for safety of the child inmate, is the chief factor for a destitute home reluctant to accept a girl child.

Elaborating further he said with signs of tantrums and audacity normally associated with teenagers, the case is not different with the girls for they get moody even at the faintest hint of reprimanding them.

In the case of the Lei-ingkhol centre, it is informed that custody of two girls – one 20 year old from Yairipok Changamdabi and another 16-year old from the same locality – were recently regained by their respective family members/relatives.

Confiding that inspite of reluctance by the Home, initially, persistence by relatives compelled the centre to accept both on humanity ground, Tolen said process is underway to release two more girls, who handed to the Home due to financial constraints of the families.

Opining that problems he had faced in providing shelter to the girl inmates might not be an isolated case, Tolen suggested that either NGOs or the Government chalk out a feasible program to assist such centers in the form of employing personnel specifically for guidance and security of the girl inmates.

He also disclosed that financial assistance provided by the Social Welfare Department to destitute homes is still nominal as only Rs 20 is paid for an inmate.

The said amount was increased only recently as the previous allocation was fixed at Rs 9 only, he added.

Tolen also cautioned that in case department concerned and NGOs do not initiate appropriate measures to help destitute centers unscrupulous elements might exploit vulnerability of the girl inmates as had been reported in newspapers about children being trafficked to other States under the guise of providing them good education.

Informing that the Children Home was established in 1973 and has been adopted by the Lions Club of Imphal Greater, Tolen expressed elation that his constant vigil and devotion has yielded positive result in the form of molding some boys of the Home into potent sportspersons.

Elaborating further, he said 15-year old T Inaoba along Y Prem (16) of the Home have been scouted by a Karnataka academy after their achievements in adventure sports (sports climbing).

While Government of Karnataka have assured to look and care for both, six of seven boys of the Home are likely to leave for Karnataka soon as representatives of the Academy had noted their talent in sports, Tolen maintained.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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