Odisha Children Deprived of Basic Amenities: Survey

The Orissa State Commission Protection of Child Rights (OSCPCR), UNICEF and the Odisha chapter of Save the Children organisation conducted a joint rapid assessment which revealed that 57 percent of street children living in Odisha’s cities were deprived of free and necessary education during the pandemic.

The assessment was conducted amongst 972 children surviving on the streets of five regions – Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela, Berhampur and Puri. Following are the quantitative reports of the survey:

  • Around 17 percent of these children were living in unsafe locations under unsafe conditions and were exposed to exploitation in various forms.
  • Around 47 percent of these children were living at the same location for more than five years but were never identified or rehabilitated.
  • The root of income of the families ranged from regular wage contractual labour, rag-pickers, domestic help workers and street vendors. The family income of these children varied between Rs 5,000 to 10,000. This income too was severely hampered during the lockdown.
  • Roughly 87 percent of the children were aware of the Covid-19 pandemic and the precautions that one must take to ensure safety.
  • 56 percent of the children had moved places more than once during the pandemic to find a more secure place to stay
  • Around 66 percent of the families surveyed had no ration cards or access to free ration.
  • Around 5 percent of the children were found to be underweight and stunted, while 37 percent were suspected to lack proper nourishment.

“The idea was to study and understand the status of children who live off the streets either with their parents or with their relatives during the pandemic. The study will also be shared with the state government and measures will be taken to provide help to these children at policy level as well,” a member of the survey crew informed.

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