Duty of Care

Duty of Care
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Children are God’s gift. But, unfortunately, not all children are fortunate enough to either have parents(orphans), homes, access to schooling and education thereof and so on. And, many of these deprived children are preyed upon by predators or fall victim to crime, penury and poverty. These privations and depredations constitute violence against deprived and vulnerable children. It is a truism to state that children have rights but, generally, in the case of deprived children, these rights are observed in the breach. This not only constitutes a tragedy but is a shame and a sordid statement on the collective conscience of society. It is not the fault of children to be either deprived or be vulnerable. Quirks of fate and happenstance determine the condition of children. But, the onus falls on the society to take care of these children so that their lives are defined by dignity and well being and that they grow into functioning and productive adults which enables them to lead fuller lives. What , the question is, can the shape and form of this care be? First, consider the case of orphans who have to bear the brunt of the vagaries of life on their own. Care of orphans , in any given society, must be institutionalized. That is, robust and well functioning institutions must be built and developed to take care of these vulnerable children. This should not mean merely providing them with food and shelter but also schooling and imparting of skills to them. ( Care should be taken in disbursing assistance to orphans; it should not and must not accrue from charity but as a social and moral responsibility owed to them as a matter of duty). Second, it is not only orphans that are to be taken care of. There are innumerable cases of children who are either specially abled or suffer from other debilities and whose parents are too poor to take care of them properly. Society must and should reach out to both families and these children and come to their assistance, so that they too are able to live meaningful and dignified lives. In the final analysis, a society is as good and moral as it treats is most vulnerable members. It is no special insight to posit that orphans and the specially abled are among society’s most vulnerable. So, let us rise to the occasion and do our