While there are nearly 65 private homes for children, with no parents or single parent, in Coimbatore district, there is only a single Government-run orphanage.
Philanthropists and members of non-Governmental organisations believe that there is an urgent need for more such homes for not only providing a roof, but also education, to orphaned children, especially girls.
The necessity has been amplified in the wake of the events that have happened in the city relating to the rescue of some Nepali girls, who were registered at a private orphanage as ‘orphans' even though they had families.
According to Sherin Philip, District Social Welfare Officer (additional charge), Coimbatore, the district administration has asked for all the private orphanages / homes, which had applied to the Department for registration, to be brought under the scanner.
“Soon we will be issuing orders to these homes to furnish details about all the inmates. Profiling will be done and supporting documents will be inspected,” she said.
After the Nepali girls were sent home, the profiling of private orphanages was expected to begin.
S. Santha Kumar, Revenue Divisional Officer, said the orphanage where the Nepali girls were housed was given 15 days' time to furnish the supporting documents because according to the orphanage authorities the files were in their Chennai office.
“The recent incidents have brought to light the importance of the safe custody of orphaned girls in private homes”, said T. Sampath Kumar, Managing Trustee of ‘Save Our Daughters India' movement, which was involved in educating girls from poor families and those living in the Government-run Sathya Ammaiyar Ninaivu Arasu Kuzhanthaigal Kaapagam.
“There are only 27 Government orphanages in the State. There is a need to start many more. Only this will ensure that poor girls get safe shelter and education,” he said.
Appeal to CM
Taking the point forward, he had written to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. There was also a plea to allow the girls to stay till 21 years of age to enable them leave the orphanage with a degree. At present, inmates were allowed to stay only till 18 years.
Once this was ensured, there was hope that more girls from economically weaker families would come forward to take up higher education.
Starting 2009, 33 girls from the Government orphanage in Coimbatore had completed Plus-Two and taken up college education, with the help of the movement.
In addition to this, the movement also identified a deserving girl candidate to a philanthropist who was interested in sponsoring her education. The Rotary Club was also roped in for this.
In the letter to the Chief Minister, Mr. Sampath Kumar had said that if the girls were allowed to stay till 21 years of age, the movement would ensure that they left the portals of the orphanage with a degree and also a job.
Better amenities for the homes were also sought. “Members of Legislative Assembly and Member of Parliament may allocate once the Government sanctions funds for them. Periodical inspection by District Collectors will definitely improve the homes,” he had added in the letter.
Keywords: Social Welfare Department