KOZHIKODE: If statistics of the FCRA (Foreign Contributions Regulatory Act) Wing under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs can be believed, Kerala would have literally been a ‘God’s Own Country’ for the destitutes with each inmate in the poor homes boasting of a bank balance worth crores.
Roughly, charity and religious associations in Kerala have received around `10,000 crore in aid over the last 10 years. Though this is the official figure it need not be the real quantum of fund flowing to the state, experts say. A detailed analysis of the FC-6 return statements submitted to FCRA by the beneficiary associations reveals that close to 60 per cent of the foreign aid utilisation was solely towards or linked to the purpose of the welfare and uplift of poor children or orphans. ‘‘This clearly shows that the real purpose of running orphanages or poor homes is business and not charity,’’ said Hameed Chennamangalloor, social critic and author. ‘‘The destitutes have become the instruments for these profit-oriented managements to source foreign aid worth crores. Inmates are like slaves who have the luxury of getting food thrice a day. Otherwise, a few managements would have utilised at least a tiny portion of this humongous sum to ensure higher education and employment opportunities for the needy children,’’ he said.
The statistics reveal that managements have invested the money only in avenues that earn profit to them. They are more interested in the functioning of aided institutions under them instead of the welfare of the inmates, according to Basheer Kallepadam, general secretary of the Kerala State Muslim Orphanage Old Students Association. ‘’It is high time the orphanages in the state were made youth treatment centres or rehabilitation centres. The real objective should be to make the inmates self-sufficient. But, this aspect is hardly discussed in the state. This is the main reason why the strength of inmates in Kerala orphanages has been declining over the last several years,’’ he said.
‘‘Apart from providing food and stay, nothing is done for the rehabilitation of the inmates after their secondary education. Wardens, who look after the inmates, are not qualified. There are no avenues for career planning and motivation. Due to this, major shortcomings in their social and emotional development crop up. Certain managements even divert the local fund mobilised for the orphanage to activities of their educational institutions. If the inmates do not benefit from these huge cash donations, what is the significance in showing it only in account statements,’’ Basheer added. When contacted, P C Ibrahim Master, chairman, Board of Control For the Orphanages and Other Charitable Homes, Kerala, said: ‘‘The board will definitely look into these aspects in the coming days.’’.
Earlier, an investigation by Express revealed that orphanage managements in Kerala obtain grant-in-aid from the state government by fudging records on foreign financial aid. Based on the report, the State Human Rights Commission and the Social Justice Department are conducting a probe into the issue.