Sunday, November 1, 2009

Appeal for Children's Special Needs in North Karnataka

CRT has become involved in the North Karnataka flood relief especially focusing on the special needs of children. Many individuals have been shocked by the enormity of the flood disaster and wanted to help. At the same time, there is, as always, a gnawing doubt if the aid one gives will in fact reach those who need it.

The Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights [KSCPCR] Chairperson and members toured the affected areas. Apart from identifying the most affected areas and the most crucial needs of the distressed families, they noted that the situation of childen was especially pathetic in terms of both health and nutrition as well as trauma. Even a month after the floods, the situation has not improved in these respectsm especially in the more remote areas. Some NGOS are involved in the relief work, both on their own and with government to help proper distribution of the aid, and to help monitor the same. Each district has a coordination committee that oversees the relief effort to avoid duplication on the one hand, and missing out some needy, on the other. The committee will also monitor the work of both the govt. and the NGO efforts.

We know from previous emergency experience in India and elsewhere, that apart from the need for food, clothes, shelter and medicine, there is a crying need to help children get over their trauma and towards normalcy, by counseling them and engaging them in play and studying. Even the special nutritional foods that are often given to them in such circumstances have no effect if they are not engaged in such activities. The materials needed include paper and pens/pencils, or slates and chalks, and simple play materials. So a major part of the funding we get will be used for these.

There are some among us with experience in trauma counseling, having been specially trained or having worked in the Tsunami aftermath a few years ago, who will train local NGOs and other volunteers in methods of overcoming PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder] for all affected persons with special attention to children.

We realize that some of you might have already donated for flood relief through either government or NGOs. Even so, we hope you will respond quickly and generously to help meet the special needs of children in this time of dire need. These needs are typically overlooked in relief programmes, but are crucial for children to return to normalcy. Child Rights Trust, Bangalore [CRT] has learnt that some Bangalore-based NGOs have decided that each staff member will donate one day's salary. In some institutions, it is a month’s salary [deductible over a longer period, while the institution pays the total immediately]. Such decisions are welcome initiatives and something one might think of replicating.

CRT will be able to receive and forward whatever donations you give and will give you a receipt for the same. We will also provide a consolidated report with photographs to all our donors. Your donations will be eligible for tax deduction under the IT 80G clause.

Donations can be sent to Child Rights Trust, 4606, High Point IV, Palace Road, Bangalore 560001, either by cheque, demand draft or cash. Please provide your name and full address to enable us to give you the receipt, and indicate clearly in a cover letter or on the back of the cheque that the donation is meant for N. Karnataka Flood Relief.