Tribune News Service
Amritsar, June 9
A first of its kind initiative, Pangoora, the district administration’s effort to provide a safe house to a girl child, who were either being killed or abandoned immediately after birth, has over the years become a movement. Started in 2008 by then Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu, till now Pangoora has saved the lives of 149 children and out of it 122 are girls. Years 2015-16 and 2016-17 have witnessed abandoning of as many as 26 and 20 girls, respectively, according to the data provided by the District Red Cross Society that runs the centre.
In order to rehabilitate the children, Pangoora has collaborated with several adoption and legal agencies where childless couples interested for adoption can register and adopt these children. But even there, the stigma around the girl child follows, says Randhir Thakur, assistant secretary, District Red Cross Society.
“We do get queries, at least eight-10 every month regarding a boy child, with couples willing to adopt preferably a boy rather than girls. Sometimes, we have to make it clear to them that we are just a delivering agency and not a factory showroom, where you can pick and choose a child. According to the guidelines set by the Central Adoption Resource Authority, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, the Legal Adoption and Placement Agency (LAPA), working in the district ensures that any child, be it a girl or a boy, who is healthy and available for adoption, would be given away,” he says.
The children received at Pangoora are sent to five adoption centres in Punjab and it takes at least six-eight months to complete the procedure.
Though their adoption rate has been successful till now, the stress is still on the awareness campaigns that the District Red Cross Society aims to run against the shunning of the girl child. “There are still many cases that go unreported and many girls are being abandoned irresponsibly, making them prone to death or serious injuries. Despite our many efforts, the preference of having a boy over a girl is the real challenge to overcome.”
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