International acclaimed actress, author and child rights ambassador, Nandana Dev Sen recently visited families and children in Sundarbans, affected by Covid and cyclones and whom she has been supporting with child rights organization Save the Children.
During this day long trip Sen visited four families and spent time with them. These families were badly affected by the covid, loosing life and livelihood, the family lost their sole earning member to covid and her support has helped them to get back to the life again.
Sen also visited a Multi-Activity Center (MAC) run by Save the Children in Kalinga, Mandir Bazar block of Diamond Harbour subdivision. These centers play an important role in bringing orphaned, abandoned and at-risk children together within the purview of education while supporting them with crucial psycho-social care.
These children are under the care of the child protection regulators in the communities they live in and spend six to seven hours a week in MAC centers which helps them socialize and come out of the fear and anxiety they have been living in.
Nandana spent a good amount time with the children playing, reading and dancing, speaking to News Sense, she later said, “These children have lost one or both of their parents and have gone through a traumatic experience and stand exposed to protection issues like trafficking, child labour and child marriage. This crisis has hit them hard. Together with Save the Children, we want to ensure that these children are protected and are in a position of security until brought under the state child protection scheme.”
In order to ensure the safety, security and welfare of the most vulnerable children in this part of the world, Nandana Sen mobilized resources for over 200 children across 25 gram Panchayats of the Sundarbans area, which comes under South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal.
She is currently supporting a project of the organization that directly benefits the caregivers particularly the mother to meet the medical, nutritional, educational and protection needs of these children. Each child is receiving Rs.3000 per month to meet the basic needs of education, health needs, nutrition and other emergency needs. The main objective of this campaign is to bring back children to the mainstream education ensuring a healthy future.
Meanwhile Speaking to News Sense, Susmita Guha, Senior Manager, West Bengal State Program, Save the Children said “Sundarbans is one of the priority intervention geography of Save the Children for decades. Our regards to Nandana Sen who join hands with us to extend support to children of Mandirbazar block of Sundarbans who are in extreme vulnerable situation due to COVID death in family and several cyclonic effects. This support enables those families to provide bare minimum requirements of a child to survive, develop and be protected.”
Sundarbans being a hotspot for climate change, experiences cyclones, storms and incessant rains causing floods. These children are victims of multifarious vulnerabilities; some of them have either lost their parents due to Covid-19 or have lost the breadwinner of the family for the same reason. Some of these children also faced the double impact of Cyclonic Yaas and Amphan, while others lost their parents to tiger bites, snakebites, crocodile bites, capsizing of boats and honey collection. Few children are terminally ill and suffering from cancer and Thalassemia.
The support given to each and every child on a monthly basis in this part of the country was allocated after a rigorous screening process to ensure that the funds are properly utilized and help the children in most need. The support project is being implemented, monitored and reviewed by Save the Children.
In 2020, cyclone Amphan followed by cyclone Yaas in 2021 made the area extremely vulnerable. To top it off, Covid-19 made the situation worse. Climate change is a continuous factor that affects both natural systems and human populations in this part of the world, resulting in further ecosystem degradation and climate migration.