Pune NGO seeks committed donors to fund the evaluation of children in shelters for legal adoption

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Pune, 27th April 2024: Pune based NGO Where Are India’s Children (WAIC), seeks committed donors who can commit at least 5 lakhs per year for 5 years in order to help them continue their work to assess thousands of children living in shelters for legal adoption in Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka and beyond.

WAIC’s work centres on solving India’s adoption paradox –  the heart-wrenching reality that lakhs of children are currently languishing in shelters or facing unsafe abandonment, while tens of thousands of prospective adoptive parents endure a wait of 3+ years to bring a child into their lives. The NGO has already implemented actionable solutions through supporting the identification of children who are eligible for adoption, training stakeholders, and advocating for policy change. Their innovative technology-driven fieldwork and persistent advocacy is ensuring no child is left unnoticed.

Meera Marhi, CEO of WAIC comments: “Our mission encompasses not only identifying and processing each abandoned and orphaned child for legal adoption but also engaging in widespread public awareness campaigns. These initiatives, coupled with our collaborations with governmental programs, aim to curb abandonment, trafficking, and infanticide, all the while advocating for the safe surrender of children for adoption. We have been making great strides in the areas in which we operate, and we need consistent funding in order to employ more field workers to scale and extend our impact faster into more shelters and states.”

WAIC’s journey so far has identified over 13,000 vulnerable children who have been made visible to authorities through digital means. More than 3,500 of these children have been recommended for adoption evaluation, and so far the NGO has been directly responsible for 180 children transitioning into the legal adoption pool. Their pioneering technology system has been implemented in three states: Maharashtra, Telangana and Karnataka and training programs have enriched over 600 government stakeholders and 500+ child care institutions with valuable knowledge and skills.

Marthi commented further: “In an effort to further transform the lives of abandoned and orphaned children, we are on a quest to find extraordinary individuals or entities willing to help us with significant funding. We think of these individuals as our Child Protection Patrons since, by  committing to a donation of 5 lakh INR annually for a duration of five years, they play a pivotal role in steering these children towards a brighter future—a future where they are welcomed into loving families, leaving behind uncertainty and shelters.”

A testament to WAIC’s work is Arjun’s story. Arjun is a 16 year old boy child based in Maharashtra. After spending the majority of his life in a shelter under the assumption that his distant relative’s minimal contact made him ineligible for adoption, a WAIC social worker examined his case.  Despite being told that his age would mean he could not find adoptive parents, WAIC’s social worker was determined, and managed to get him declared legally adoptable. Recently, he moved into pre-adoption foster care with a family eager to provide him with a loving home. This journey, though challenging, highlights the profound impact of perseverance, belief, and collective effort in changing lives, promising Arjun, and many like him, a hopeful future with a forever family.

In 2018, a Ministry of Women and Child Development report highlighted that between 3.5 to 4 lakh children reside in child shelters across India, and a mere fraction—less than 2,000—are in the legal adoption pool at any given time. Currently, over 34,000+ prospective adoptive parents are registered with the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), waiting in line to open their hearts and homes to a child. The difference is significant, requiring significant resources to tackle. Many of these children, despite having their basic needs met in shelters, suffer from undernourishment, inadequate education, and a lack of emotional support. WAIC’s conviction is unwavering: No child should grow up in a shelter. Every child is entitled to the love and security only a family can provide.

More information and how to donate

Interested parties can go to https://waic.in/5-5-commitment/ for more information or contact [email protected].