March 16, 2021 7:40:41 am
A joint rapid assessment conducted by the Orissa State Commission Protection of Child Rights (OSCPCR), UNICEF and the Odisha chapter of Save the Children organisation has revealed that 57 per cent of street children living in Odisha’s cities were deprived of free and compulsory education during the pandemic.
The study further revealed that around 17 per cent of these children were living in unsafe locations under unsafe conditions and were exposed to exploitation in various forms.
The assessment was carried out for 972 children living on the streets of five cities — Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela, Berhampur and Puri. The quantitative survey stated that 47 per cent of these children were living at the same location for more than five years but were never identified or rehabilitated.
“The idea was to study and understand the status of children who live off the streets either with their parents or with their relatives during the pandemic. The study will also be shared with the state government and measures will be taken to provide help to these children at policy level as well,” a member of the survey team said.
The family income of these children ranged between Rs 5,000 to 10,000 – a figure that was severely affected during the lockdown, the study revealed. The source of income of the families ranged from daily wage contractual labour, rag-picking, begging, working as domestic helps or as street vendors.
The survey also touched upon awareness regarding the pandemic, and found that 87 per cent of the children were aware of Covid-19 and the precautions that one must take to ensure safety.
Other findings of the study stated that 56 per cent of the children sampled had moved places more than once during the pandemic to find a more secure place to stay. Around 66 per cent of the families surveyed had no ration cards or access to free ration. Around 5 per cent of the children were found to be underweight and stunted, while 37 per cent were suspected to lack proper nourishment.
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