In Kashmir Orphanages, Efforts To Provide Children More Than Just A Roof

There are over two lakh orphans in the Valley with just 20,000 of these children finding shelter in orphanages, according to a study by the non-governmental organisation 'Save The Children'. But many of the orphanages in the region are unregistered.

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Efforts are on to help children at orphanages in Kashmir develop better personal habits.


Srinagar:  The Kashmir Valley has seen a surge in the number of orphans since the early 1990s when the militancy peaked.  With most of the orphans live in unregistered orphanages, the focus so far has been on improving the facilities for the children. Now, efforts are also being made to develop the personalities, thus helping them to grow into responsible citizens.

There are over two lakh orphans in the Valley with just 20,000 of these children finding shelter in orphanages, according to a study by the non-governmental organisation 'Save The Children'. But many of the orphanages in the region are unregistered. With no support from the government, they tend to have poor hygiene levels.

In March last year, the Jammu and Kashmir government decided to wind up all its state-run orphanages and instead set up two boarding schools for orphans in Jammu and Srinagar. The government said the children will be brought under a single roof to ensure that their development takes place on modern lines and in a holistic manner.

At a private orphanage in Jammu and Kashmir's capital Srinagar, volunteers organise storytelling sessions for personality development of the children and help them grow up as responsible individuals.

Efforts are on to help children at orphanages develop better personal habits, etiquettes and help them get quality education.  Spearheading the mission are social activists like 31-year-old Qurat ul Ain Masoodi, who left engineering to help young orphan children of Kashmir.

"Since these orphanages are already providing them with food, clothing and other things, we decided, let us give them etiquettes as if they are at their own respective places, the way their parents would have treated them", said Mr Masoodi.
    
"When the volunteers come here, we first wish them first, we are taught to respect our elders and do our work ourselves and not shift it on others", said Basheer Pathan, an orphan child from
Kupwara.

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