Project Aasra: 15 Covid-affected children receive benefits
Noida: As many as 15 children affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in Gautam Budh Nagar have so far received benefits from the district police’s initiative -- project Aasra -- which was launched on April 29 in the district.
Under the initiative, a helpline -- 9870395200 -- was launched to help children who have either lost parents to Covid-19 or whose families tested positive and thus unable to look after them. The police department had urged the public to come forward as volunteers and provide help with food, medicines, transport, among others.
“So far, 15 children have received benefits while 101 volunteers have come forward to provide necessary aid. More volunteers are joining every day,” said Vrinda Shukla, deputy commissioner of police (women and child safety).
Officials said that of 15 children, four have lost their parents to Covid-19 in May. They are two sibling pairs: brother and sister aged 10 years and eight years and two brothers aged 15 years and seven years. The first pair is now under the care of their aged grandparents and the other is with their maternal uncle, a daily wage earner, Shukla said, adding that both the sibling pairs are from Greater Noida.
The initiative has already been able to sponsor the education of the first pair for one year, the officials said.
“The teen boy was working at a roadside eatery and we are trying to get him trained as electrician or plumber. His younger brother is in class 4 and efforts are on for education sponsorship,” said the DCP.
The officials said they are concerned about cases that may be going unreported, especially in rural belt.
“We need to increase the reach of the project at the ground level. We will ask the health department to share the project details with the Covid-dedicated hospitals,” said another police official.
According to the officials, the basic education department has also shared a video detailing the fine points of the initiative with the teachers.
Information about children being affected by the pandemic can also be shared at the police helpline (112) and the Childline (1098), the officials said.
FXN India Suraksha, the NGO managing the district Childline, is also a part of the initiative. “After the initial help, the Childline will take over the care of the children. We want to help as many beneficiaries as possible. People should provide any leads they have for children who have been affected in this manner,” said Satya Prakash, programme manager, FXN India Suraksha.