Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In India, many children still abandoned because of disability


NEW DELHI, India -- On Jan. 4, CNN-IBN brought the story of six-month old Chiku alias Stephen (pictured), who suffered a brain hemorrhage during delivery. His parents abandoned him saying it was the hospital's duty to cure him as they were unable to look after him in his present state.

Chiku's case is not the only case. Two-year old Suhasini is one of the many abandoned children looked after by the Delhi Council for Child Welfare. Diagnosed with Down syndrome she was left at the home soon after she was born.

Nearly a 100 children are taken in by this home every year. The reasons for them being abandoned range from financial problems to the birth of a girl child to physical and mental disabilities. But it is the mentally challenged ones who have the toughest time as no one is willing to adopt them.

Child rights activist Merry Barua says, "There is a huge stigma in India even now as far as mental disability is considered. People are willing to accept physically disabled children. But the minute you are felt to be someone who has any kind of cognitive impairment, you are kind of considered less human."

Child rights activists say that the government should be doing a lot more to do away with this stigma.

They say that the government should open more institutions for such kids with a genuine staff who cares for them.

Even while Chiku is waiting to be taken home, there are hundreds of abandoned babies like him, who have no home to call their own.