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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

Nobody's Children

Desolate and without their real protectors, Gujarat echoes with the cries of hundreds of orphans

Nobody's Children
Nobody's Children
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
You will not find too many children in Anjar these days. This is, after all, the town which alone lost some 400 children on a busy bazaar street as they marched down singing paeans to nationhood when the earth shook and swallowed up their town. So, snuggling in her grandmother's lap, under an elegant black-and-green shamiana in a dusty playground, Richa Ramniklal is somewhat of a hapless exception. The shamiana, set up for a marriage ceremony the day before the quake killed thousands in the town, is now a gloomy refuge of a few hundred survivors. Three-year-old Richa is the most unfortunate of them all—her parents perished in the rubble. In the doleful wastelands of Gujarat today, she is a quake orphan.

It's early days yet to pin down how many children have lost their parents in quake-devastated Gujarat. Some estimates by Ahmedabad-based adoption centres suggest that there might be as many as 6,000 such children. But reports of a larger number of children who have lost their parents are slowly pouring in. Assessment teams from the government and ngos are also scouring for them. Adoption centres in Ahmedabad are already swamped by calls from couples at home and abroad. They are keen to adopt the quake orphans. Says Vijay Pandit, superintendent of the Ahmedabad-based Mahipatram Rupram Ashram, a 108-year-old orphanage which houses some 70 children: "I have already received applications from couples in the city and Mumbai for adoptions. The phone here just keeps ringing all day." Child Line, a hotline to help distressed children, has been receiving up to ten calls every day from interested couples. But, as Hannah Crabtree of Save the Children, an international ngo working with children, says: "Everybody seems to be in a hurry to adopt. In a few days, the orphanages might even begin receiving a large number of children. But it is important not to rush things and...
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