More than 20 special kids in the age group of 8-14 years struggle for space in one huge room at the Yerawada Boys Observation Home. One maid attends to the children,three of whom are severely mentally challenged. The home is now faced with the arduous task of taking care of these children after the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) decided to transfer the boys here once the only facility for special kids in the district Shriram Home for Mentally Challenged at Daund closed down.
The condition of children here cuts a sorry picture. While some sit on the road outside the room wearing soiled clothes,others have none on them. Some stare into oblivion while others move around aimlessly. One nurse,who has been called to the home,is doing her best to attend to the children while the superintendent,Shahaji Landge,who has earlier worked at a home for mentally challenged,is trying to use her expertise to the best of her ability.
I might be able to understand,my staff is not trained. We are keeping this only as a temporary option. We have informed the CWC and the department about the problems we face and have demanded more staff, said Landge.
The CWC has written to homes in Satara,urging them to take care of these children. The Yerawada home is awaiting their reply.
The home,which has two buildings to house juveniles up to 18 years,already has 26 children.
Suman Marne,the only probation officer at the home,said besides regular check-ups,now they have to pay special attention to these children,some of whom are suffering from serious ailments. Some of these children suffer seizures,and we often have to rush them to Sassoon,said Marne. She has written to social organisations as well as Yerawada Central jail to provide them with clothes.
Activist Anjali Pawar,who has written to the Child Rights Commission,said it is the lacunae on part of the government that such institutions are allowed to operate without necessary facilities. If such an institution decides to close down,the state government should have the necessary machinery to run it rather than transferring children from one institution to another, said Pawar.
Deputy commissioner,Women and Child Welfare,Ravi Patil admitted that there was an issue but said his department was not adept to handle such cases. We want the disability commissionerate to intervene and help us rehabilitate these children, he said.