‘Single parent families’ challenges can’t be overlooked’

Shishu Sangopan Griha is a foundation that works in Delhi focussing on sustainable and constructive care for a single parent-led families or children living with kin families surviving in extremely challenging conditions. Delhi has thousands of children living with single parents or kin families who are the most affected in such circumstances – already bereft of a core family member due to death or desertion, and such caregivers have no option but to turn to the government for support. In normal times, these families were already families in crisis; COVID 19 has only made it worse and challenging.

Through April 2020, Shishu Sangopan Griha has received urgent calls for milk for babies and children, for medicines for the elderly and chronically ill, for toiletries for families, and other such core needs. While food remains crucial for survival, it is not the only component of survival.

Executive Director of SSG, Himadri De says, “Often the biggest challenge isn’t the actual problem as problems continue to exist in life. The challenge is enlarged when empathy goes missing, and one is left to fend for oneself at the mercy of people, often living below survival levels, extremely exposed to various forms of neglect every day. COVID has only made it worse for such children and families as they have lost whatever limited options they had for survival.”

According to Himadri De one of the primary misconceptions that remain ingrained in our society is to give donations in kind for the poor people – a form that has survived through generations inspired by various social and religious beliefs. This continues even in this crisis and there are other segments, who are equally vulnerable but don’t get attention. He adds, “While we enter lockdown 4, the question is not about when the lockdown will end, but about when these families will be able to get back to work to provide basic needs for their children and themselves.”