On the occasion of UN International Day of families – to celebrate the importance of families, people, societies and cultures around the nation, SOS Children’s Villages of Shillong celebrated a part of its vision ‘building families for children in need’.
This year’s celebration was in sync with the United Nation’s International Day of Families theme – “Families in development: Copenhagen and Beijing + 25”. This year’s 25th anniversary of Copenhagen Declaration and Beijing Platform for Action come at the time of one of the most challenging global health and social crises.
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic brings into sharp focus the importance of investing in social policies protecting the most vulnerable individuals and families. According to the United Nations, it is the vulnerable families who are bearing the brunt of crises. So, sheltering their members from harm, caring for out of school children and at the same time continuing their work responsibilities, is of utmost importance.
This year’s theme clearly focused on the importance of supporting the most vulnerable sections of our society, which SOS India has already been doing for long now. Its Family Strengthening Programme aims to lift vulnerable families out of the vicious cycle of poverty and help them reach self-reliance.
The celebrations at SOS Children’s Villages of India demonstrated the value of having a family including a mother and siblings. The special focus was laid on bonding within a family, children’s education and improvisation in parenting skills to keep the children in high life state as it is understood that a stable, nurturing environment lays the foundation for a child’s healthy development.
On the special occasion of International Day of Families, Sudarshan Suchi, Secretary General, SOS Children’s villages of India said, “A family is the smallest yet the most important building blockpillar of thea society. At SOS Children’s Villages of India, we understand the role as well as the innate potential of children in our Nation’s building. We provide all children, once abandoned, a family-like environment, under our Family Like Care Programme to all once parentless & abandoned children. And, the unique feature of SOS Children’s Villages model is its Mothers, they. SOS Mothers are the strongest pillars of SOS families. For us, every day is a family day where we put every possible effort to cultivate love and strength within the SOS families. Also, we put ensure equal emphasis on the families and their children living in the nearby communities, under our Family Strengthening Programme, which keeps with the UN’s mission of fostering equality for all.”
He added, “At SOS India, we intend to develop and share strong familial bonds that provides a support and safe environment, which are necessary for any individual’s development, especially young children. Through the Family Strengthening Programme our endeavor is to create inclusive communities for the country’;s sustainable growth. The whole idea is to strengthen the families by enabling the caregivers.”
As India battles with COVID-19 pandemic, the isolation, lockdown, and suppressed economic activity is hurting families across the world. The situation is adversely affecting the most marginalized and disadvantaged children and communities. Families at villages and urban slums families are struggling to get food, basic hygiene products, clean water and health care. SOS India is working relentlessly to provide help for the children, families and communities in dire need of lifesaving assistance.
Suchi further said, “I’m pleased to see our SOS families growing together in the most challenging global health and social crises. Ironically, it took a pandemic like COVID-19 to bring a sharp focus on the importance of social policies to protect the most vulnerable individuals and families. In this need of hour, it is the time to support each other for the well-being of all the individuals. This extraordinary time has showcased how a strengthened family could eventually help strengthen the societies and nations”.
Our journey towards strengthening families: Families experiencing crises or extreme hardship may have difficulty in caring adequately for their children, and often leading to child abandonment. Family Strengthening Programme (FSP) is designed to prevent and contain curb abandonment of children by families belonging to the most vulnerable sections of society – children of widows, single women and of Below Poverty Line (BPL) families. We work with families and communities to help them build their capacities so that children are well cared for and families stay together. FSP’s two pronged approach is to provide essential services to children, such as education and nutrition, and empower women with the capacity to protect and care for their children and become self-reliant.