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Sampark Connects Children

Bhubaneswar: In order to provide psychosocial support to children during the prevailing Covid-19 situation, Sampark, a State Help Desk for children launched on Thursday.

Women and Child Development (W&CD) Minister Tukuni Sahu inaugurated the desk on a virtual platform.

W&CD Secretary Dr. Pramod Kumar Meherda, Chief of UNICEF Field Office Odisha, Dr. Monika Nielsen, Director ICDS & SW, OSCPS, Arvind Agarwal, Child Protection Specialist UNICEF, Neha Naidu, the DCPOs, CWCs, DCPUs, DSWOs, functionaries of Childlines, CCIs, Chairperson of OSCPCR and partners from UNICEF were present.

The desk has been set up by Odisha State Child Protection Society in collaboration with UNICEF, India.

On this occasion, the Minister released the movie on state help desk, followed by her enlightening address enumerating various issues surrounding children with the advent of the pandemic.

She envisioned that a joint effort by all the Departments along with the help desk can lead to the success of the Ashirbaad scheme to ensure the future of the children are protected, their minds strengthened which shall make them capable to face the world in the future.

W&CD Secretary Dr.Meherda highlighted the importance and the advantages of the help desk in the current scenario and acknowledged the Odisha Government, OSCPS and UNICEF for their countless efforts which has yielded the launch of Sampark.

The launch of Sampark will help in providing psychosocial support through tele-counseling to children and their parents/caregivers impacted during or due to Covid-19, he said.

Besides, it will also help connecting children in need, with child protection services provisions such as Ashirbad scheme: a scheme for special care children who lost their parental care during pandemic, Biju Sishu Surakhya Yojana and linkages to other referral services, the Secretary said. 

He also envisioned that this helpline shall complement and strengthen Childline (1098) service in the State by linking cases to the respective jurisdiction and concerned District Child Protection Unit (DCPU).

ICDS Director Arvind Agrawal welcomed all the esteemed panelists with introductory remarks while Monika Nielsen from UNICEF gave an insight of the current second wave of the Covid-19 situation in the country and the adverse impact on the children.

She emphasizes that the social wellbeing of children has been greatly affected. She congratulated the Odisha Government for launching of Ashirbad scheme which shows a great promise of the Department to support children in need of care and protection.

Monika highlighted that the help desk shall help the children in distress and further help the Government prepare for the crisis that lies ahead of the children.

Psychosocial support and counseling for children, providing information regarding various policies are critical and much needed and there can be severe consequences if not addressed in a timely manner, she added.

The State Government is committed to protect its children and has taken extraordinary measures to ensure that the help reaches them. The state help desk will cater the urgent protection needs of children in context of the pandemic by providing information and primary counseling to children and/or their caretakers who are impacted or affected by Covid-19.

It will also support in ensuring shelter, care and protection to children who have lost their parental care in the pandemic period and are unable to take care of them, alone or abandoned and also to children who need care and protection.