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Orphans find it hard to get documents for nursery

Orphans find it hard to get documents for nursery admissions in Delhi

NEW DELHI: Satpal Kumar can get a four-year-old who lost both parents a year ago into school, if he can get some authority to 'certify' the boy as an orphan. He approached the local SDM for a certificate but didn't get one. With nursery admissions set to start within weeks, those attempting to get documentation in order for orphans are finding themselves in a fix.
Orphans have been included in 'disadvantaged groups' in the EWS category for the first time and their applications have to be supported by certificates from the department of Women and Child Development saying they are orphans. Except activists working with children say WCD doesn't issue such certificates.
'Even the Child Welfare Committees don't issue 'orphan certificates'. Complete, known orphans - both of whose parents are dead - are rare. Under the Juvenile Justice Act, missing or abandoned children are produced before the CWCs. If, after search and publishing of photos, no one claims the child, we give 'abandonment certificates',' says Ajay Singh, chairperson, CWC, Dilshad Garden.
'Even to ascertain whether a child is an orphan or abandoned, CWCs will have to step in,' says Singh. The usual batch of documents don't work for orphans. 'He doesn't have any parents and so there are no income certificates,' says Kumar. The boy he is trying to admit into school lives with his grandmother in Rohini and Kumar had approached lawyer Khagesh Jha for help. In the absence of parents, the guardian's income counts.
'But the case of many orphans is that their guardians are institutions with a lot of money, thereby, making the children ineligible for any benefit,' says Jha. It was to solve this problem that that certification from WCD was devised except they don't directly deal with children anymore.
'You need a tremendous amount of paperwork,' says Meenakshi Kohli of the NGO Udayan Care which runs homes for children above six. 'We are unable to avail the 25% EWS quota,' she says, 'Schools sometimes give us waivers on humanitarian grounds but under the EWS, the lottery system has made it more difficult.' She says all children come to them through CWCs.
'The department will have to work out a procedure, some mechanism by which these children can be certified,' says Amit Singla, director, education.

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