SALEM: Oondrukol, an initiative of District Collector S Karmegam, is helping children whose lives were shattered by Covid to continue education.
According to sources, the district administration is persuading private schools to admit children who lost their parents without charging fee. Also, financial assistance will be arranged for those in need, and job fairs would be organised for students who completed college education. This is in addition to financial assistance announced by the State and Union governments.
Out of 514 children identified as being affected by the pandemic, 260 would be admitted in private schools. Seventy students have already been enrolled and agreement is in the works to admit the rest. For those aged above 18 years, the administration would arrange for education loans.
A room in the Collectorate (no 415) has been converted as a help desk for children to apply for relief fund. The children have to produce their parents’ Aadhaar details and death certificate to claim assistance. In the death summary, it should be mentioned that the death was due to Covid. Officials would scrutinise the documents and forward them to the respective departments.
So far, 514 children below the age of 18 years have lost one parent and 18 have lost both mother and father to Covid. Of this, a child aged three years lost both father and mother and is under the care of grandmother, who is suffering from various age-related ailments. On information, the Collector admitted the child and his grandmother in an integrated home, sources said.
The initiative also will provide counselling to the children in all the blocks in the district once every month by the social welfare department at Cluster Resource Centre (CRC).
Speaking to TNIE, One of the coordinators for Oondrukol said, if a family loses its bread winner to Covid, the district administration will provide job opportunities either for the mother or father of the children in their locality itself. On August 28, the administration conducted a job mela for the family members of 514 children and 35 private companies participated and over 250 members seeking jobs were part of the mela.
Collector S Karmegam said, “Our aim is to protect maximum children and their families. Students should get their education without any break and with the help of the government, we will provide maximum support for them.”