Nineteen-year-old Bunty undergoes a weekly medical check-up and a doctor is on call 24 hours to look after him, in case of any exigency.
His life of hardships has smoothened a bit after HT reported he was being shunted from one child home to another for more than a year because he was over 18, the age for children to be kept in child homes.
Bunty is suffering from a heart ailment (a faulty valve) but doesn’t have the money to treat it. He doesn’t have a family or home. He’s living, temporarily, in a government home that initially didn’t want him and couldn’t provide him with the medical facilities he needed. Now, things are a bit better.
“He would be with us for the next five-six months and we are providing him with proper healthcare facilities,” said a senior official of Alipur, after-care home of Delhi government, where Bunty is living.
After the HT report, several social organizations had offered help to Bunty.
Deepalaya, a Delhi-based NGO for children, had offered to provide foster care to Bunty, if the government allowed it. However, the Alipur home official said the NGO had contacted them but are yet to meet him.
Tarana Khan, a Delhi resident, had offered to form a group of people to raise funds for the boy or seek help from an NGO. Another Delhiite, Amita Singh, wants children like Bunty be provided free medical check-up at top private hospitals.
Things may change for Bunty soon. The Delhi government has got a special grant from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to set up foster care centres for children living the life of prisoners in government homes.
“The SOS village and Delhi government has agreed to set up a foster care centre where single or destitute women would take care of children in need of care and rehabilitation,” said Deepa Dixit, a member of NCPCR, a body to protect rights of children in India.
Dixit said the foster care centres, if successful in Delhi, would be replicated all over the country to end the old age consent of children homes, which are like modern day prisons.
The NCPCR has already submitted a concept note on amending the Juvenile Justice Act to allow foster homes for children who are in conflict with the law, to the Women and Child Development ministry.