As Covid-19 continues to devastate lives and livelihoods across the world, it also threatens to leave a generation of vulnerable children facing desperate situations. India, the country hit second hardest in the world by the pandemic has over 11 million children already living on the streets, facing violence, sexual exploitation, trafficking and abuse every day. Now these already fragile communities face a new threat from Covid-19 - the loss of income, homes and the safety net of school.
The nationwide lockdown across India is having a devastating impact on the country's most vulnerable people - many of whom are the children and families we work with. 13-year-old Hakkim's family had been left with no income and no food. Any savings they had had already been spent on the mother's medical treatment. At the point we contacted them, they were unable to pay the rent and desperately hungry.
We are finding out what vulnerable families need, and getting it to them as quickly as possible. For Hakkim's family, this meant contacting local authorities to ask for emergency passes that would allow our teams to travel to the family and help them. When these were granted, we rushed to the family's home and provided them with cooked food to eat straight away, in addition to a pack with enough flour, sugar, oil and soap to last for the next four weeks.
Providing urgent interventions now will be a lifeline for children and their families. Because so many parents will be unable to work for a long period of time, their incomes will be badly hit and they will struggle to feed their children, who in turn may feel forced to live on the streets to survive. Here, they are at risk of being exploited and trafficked. By supporting our work, you will be ensuring thousands of children like Hakkim do not lose their childhoods to the streets.