Jaffna's orphans may turn to crime

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 29 October 1997, 23:59 GMT]
An official with the social services department of the Jaffna Kachcheri said that there are about twenty thousand children in the Jaffna peninsula today who are orphans or who have lost either parent due to the war.

The worst affected of these are those who have lost both parents or those who lost their fathers - who is usually the bread winner in the family. Such children form the majority of the twenty thousand.

Many of them are begging on the streets of Jaffna.

There are many widows who allow their children to beg as they have no other way to make ends meet with the little income they manage to get.

"There were many orphanages in Jaffna before the mass exodus in October 1995. All those were closed after that. In the intervening period many of these children have taken to begging" said the official.

However, he also stated that, in recent times, the Durga Orphanage and the Ilavalai convent have begun to take of some of the children under their care.

However, he emphasised that unless social service organisations come forth in a big way to alleviate the situation, many of these children may take to crime.

Five children were recently arrested by the Sri Lankan police for robbery in Jaffna town.

 

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