Poverty drives NorthEast children to shelters- Childcare official

[TamilNet, Saturday, 11 March 2006, 01:02 GMT]
Sixty percent of the nearly 8500 children currently sheltered in 168 children homes in the NorthEast were driven out of their homes due to poverty, a conference held Thursday in the provincial education ministry auditorium, revealed. Mr. Richard Mawer, Country Director of the Save the Children-Sri Lanka (SciSL) organized the conference at the end of two-day visit to Trincomalee district, sources said.

60 % inmates stay in NE children homes.
Departmental officials attending the conference.
60 % inmates stay in NE children homes.
Mr.Richard Mawer ( 3rd from left)speaking at the conference .Others are ( L-R) Mr.Varathaseelan, Mr.Arulnesan, all from SCiSL, Ms Jeya Thambiah, Ms Muraleetharan and Ms N.Ranjani.
Provincial Department of Probation and Childcare has seventy-eight divisions in the NorthEast. Sixteen Probation and Childcare Officers are serving in the province. Each officer is forced to cover 6 to 7 divisions. This has led to the serious breakdown in the monitoring of children homes and childcare activities by the department, Mr.N.Ranjani, Provincial head of the department said at the conference.

95 of the 168 children homes in the NorthEast are not registered with the government authorities. About 741 children lost both their parents in the northeast in tsunami. 2580 children lost one of their parents, said Ms Ranjani.

Ms. S.Balachandiran, Trincomalee district Registrar of Births, said two to three thousand newly born babies in the Eachchilampathu division, south of the Trincomalee district, are not registered with the government authorities because of transport difficulties and also due to lack of awareness.

Until 2003, non-governmental organizations at international and national level conducted awareness campaigns in Eachchilampathu and Kuchchaveli division that birth of every child should be registered with the government authorities. After 2003 no such assistance is provided to these areas.

In Kuchchaveli division too most of the parents in remote villages are not taking any interest to register the births of their children, she added.

Mr.S.Arulnesan, Trincomalee District Manager of SciSL, Ms Jeya Thambiah, Provincial Director of the Early Childhood Development Unit, Ms.Muraleetharan, Assistant Secretary to the Provincial Education Ministry, SciSL officials, and Provincial Department of Probation and Childcare officials also attended the conference.


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