As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across Gautam Buddha Nagar, affecting thousands of families in some form, a young IPS officer — in charge of women’s safety in Noida — is diverting resources at her disposal to help children from affected households who were left to fend for themselves.
Over the last two days, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Women Safety) Vrinda Shukla has sent teams to escort children, whose parents are in home isolation, for COVID tests at district hospitals, provide multiple meals per day and, in an instance even secured the academic future and possible adoption of siblings orphaned by the raging pandemic.
10 children get help
As many as 10 children — two siblings each from five affected families — have been aided in one way or another by Ms. Shukla. According to district records, there are currently 7,982 active COVID cases in Gautam Buddha Nagar and 250 people have lost their lives since the beginning of the pandemic last year.
“I thought of taking up the programme on my own when I read a press statement being issued by the Noida police regarding a case where we received an emergency call from a crematorium related to the last rites of a COVID-infected couple that had left a child behind,” she said.
“The child was too young to go about the funeral. So, a police team was sent to help. I realised there must be so many children who need assistance,” she added.
Last week, Ms. Shukla took to social media and requested volunteers to step forward to help provide aid to such families. Following this appeal, she now has a team of 35 such volunteers. They, however, do not have a personal interface with the children they seek to help and any assistance which reaches them is through the police in the presence of officials from the district childline. In her capacity as DCP (Women Safety), Ms. Shukla has ensured that all calls made to the emergency number 112 in the district about such children be relayed to her department so that they can be helped. “In one instance, someone stepped forward to bear the cost of the education of two children who lost their parents to COVID and, possibly, if the requisite formalities are completed as per law, to adopt them. The objective is to assist as many children as possible,” she added.
She said in case there are children from such families who need assistance, a call can be made to the emergency number 112. Information about such children can also be shared on the district childline — 9870395200.