I retired recently from an active academic life. I was looking for an opportunity to continue to contribute to society in meaningful ways.
One of the things I felt passionate about was improving the well being of children in India, especially destitute children i.e., children who lack access to the bare essentials required for a healthy life (like food, shelter, care and protection).
Volunteering provided me an opportunity to (a) make a difference to the well being of children; (b) gain a new sense of purpose and (c) make new friends.
Why help destitute children?
Out of a total of about 435 million children in India, about 145 million children (33%) are ‘destitute’. Lacking access to good food or care, they may find it more difficult to realize their potential, become responsible citizens and contribute to our country’s development.
Children become destitute in a variety of circumstances. These children need help from others to overcome their difficulties and prepare themselves for a better future.
At a personal level, my experience as a mother showed me that helping children realize their potential is a very challenging task. It could be more challenging when we are working with destitute children. Given the scale of the problem and the challenges, several people and organizations need to work together to bring lasting, positive change in the lives of destitute children.
How can volunteer help destitute children?
Volunteers can help destitute children by doing the following things:
Interacting directly with destitute children and building their knowledge, skills and confidence. The children could be accessed through organizations set up to care for them.
Strengthening the organizations that are set up to take care of destitute children. This could include helping raise funds, setting up a website, managing the organization’s website and social media presence, writing reports ∕ grant applications.
Helping destitute children in these ways could be a positive step towards nation building. It’s a responsibility all citizens of our country share.
By Ranjini Swamy