SOS India forms ERT to safeguard 26000 children across 22 states

New Delhi, 2 April 2020 – India is on high alert to prevent the spread of COVID19 and the Prime Minister has announced a 3-week lockdown, starting midnight of March 24.

SOS Children’s Villages of India (SOS India) has been closely monitoring the developments to ensure the safety of 26,000 children, which it takes care of- through its two programmes- Family Like Care Programme (FLC) and Family Strengthening Programme (FSP). It has formed an Epidemic Response Team (ERT) to assess the situation and keep a track of the situation of its Children’s Villages (CVs) and projects, about preventive measures, reporting and responding to the current scenario of this epidemic.

Sudarshan Suchi, Secretary-General, SOS Children’s Villages of India, said: “We are concerned about all the children of the country, Both children living with parents and children without Parental care need utmost care not only from a potential outbreak but also at home. SOS India is procuring protection attire and necessary medical equipment and medication to ensure preparedness and response. To ensure the safety of children, mothers and co-workers at SOS Children’s Villages as well as at FSP communities, we have pasted posters and put leaflets across and around our 32 villages in 22 states in the country, on personal hygiene, prevention and child protection.”

He added, “We are keeping a close watch on the children and families in the villages and in communities near our Children’s Villages (CVs), which come under our FSP Programmes. If required, we will be sending a recommendation to the Government to assist victimised families or those in distress in buying necessary food and medicine for their children.”

SOS Children’s Villages of India is committed to building a healthy, caring and secure atmosphere for children under its care and appeals the nation to join hands in its mission. “Need of Funds to combat the Coronavirus is an emerging reality. Donations are the urgent need of the hour for the purchase of hygiene products that have become more expensive, such as gloves and disinfectants, as well as technical equipment and laptops for children’s home lessons. The appeal goes to allcitizens and corporate houses of the country, to secure the rights of parentless childrenentrusted under  SOS India’s care”, appeals Suchi.

The guidelines and requisite steps issued to 32 CVs in the times of COVID19, to ensure the protection and health of children, mothers and staff, are as below:

  • Outsiders including mothers, co-workers, relatives and friends are not allowed to interact with the children.
  • All the families in the CVs (and the Youth Homes) tobe continually sensitized to maintain safe social distance from each other.
  • Any cases of the affected person with coronavirus identified within 50 and 20 km radius to be immediately informed to higher authorities.
  • All the CVs have been advised to keep suitable rooms inside the premises of their CVsas isolation wards if required.
  • All projects are advised to keep in close touch with the Health Department Officials & Doctors and make suitable tie-ups for regular/frequent visit of doctors to the CVs & health check-up of the children in the CV premises.
  • Copy of dos and don’ts in local language has been given to SOS Mothers and affixed at a visible place in the living rooms of the SOS Homes.

To avoid panic amongst the FSP caregivers, which depend upon daily income yielding livelihoods like vegetable vending, fruit vending, mobile food centres, street vending, and Self-Help Groups (SHGs), below measures are being issued in the programme locations across India::

  • Use of phone calls, messages and WhatsApp as a major communication media to reach out to the caregivers and animators (community Mobilizer) at different communities.
  • Regularly providing and forwarding COVID-19 awareness and preventive messages in a vernacular language like social distancing, how to wash hands properly, break the chain campaign and updates coming from the government interventions over phone and WhatsApp.
  • Continuous sharing of corona Virus helpline numbers with animators, caregivers and all the SHGs
  • Addressing panic situations at families of FSP over phone and WhatsApp.
  • Receiving on ground level information and providing support to Self Help Groups who are actively involved in providing care to the children and families of different communities around SOS India projects.

SOS CV India as part of its joint advocacy efforts along with the other members joining forces for children, India’ has sent a Joint Appeal for effective response and mitigation of the impact of COVID-19 on the Most Vulnerable Children of India to the Prime Minister, WCD Ministry, NITI Ayog and the NCPCR.

Globally, SOS Children’s Villages provides quality care to around 70,000 children and young people who have lost parental care or are at risk of losing parental care in 136 countries and territories. The organisation provides global and regional guidance on the virus to SOS member associations based on the advisories of the World Health Organization. Local staff are encouraged to follow the recommendations of their national health authorities to define measures to best protect children, staff and contribute to public health efforts in their working context.

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