Many orphanages in Bengaluru are struggling to meet ends amidst a funding crisis due to the pandemic.
When the pandemic began, Bhunath had no idea that his situation will change drastically.. As the world witnessed the pandemic in early 2020, Bhunath had 35 children housed in Mother Teresa Orphanage in Avahalli, Bengaluru, where he is the proprietor. As the days progressed, it dawned upon him that it was going to be a bigger crisis for the home than he had earlier anticipated.
Bhunath had always relied on his salary and some donations.. The pandemic brought him a slashed salary and slowly, the funds stopped coming in too. By year end, he had to let 15 children go who luckily had guardians.
Till today, his financial situation has not changed much. Same is the case with many other orphanages in the city. They lost substantial fundings during the pandemic which still continues, say proprietors of many Bengaluru orphanages.
“I had to go door to door asking for funds,” said Acharya Vedantanand, secretary of Ananda Marga Children’s Home in Jnana Ganga Nagar, Bengaluru.
He added that they retained all the children they had but had to face many troubles during the peak of the pandemic. The organisation that sponsors the orphanage lost funding too.
Bhunath said, “I did not go for government help or received any funding. We provide all the basic facilities to the children like food, clothing and schooling. I had to let many of them go as I was not able to take good care of all of them.”
Narayan from Home of Faith also had a similar problem but he managed somehow. He takes care of 45 children who have been living there since the pre-pandemic period.
“I could not let the children go. Somehow, we managed even with thelack of funds. During this time, we lost sponsors and public funds were very less,” Naryan added. He couldn’t add more children to the home due to drying funds.
Kavita, a caretaker from JanSamridhi also narrated a similar situation.
“We have only 40 percent of the donors than we had before the pandemic. We give the children all the basic facilities and educate them in government schools. We did a survey for children in Bangalore district recently but could not find any,” she said.
She added that they had 25 children in their home. But many were away in their villages with their relatives due to pandemic.
Pranita Sinha from Care India, an Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that works for women and children, said that there are other reasons too for this funding loss.
“It is a problem now. Pandemic is one reason for this. These orphanages are mainly run by a single person or society who does not have much surety of income. Many people who donated to these institutions also saw a loss in jobs or less income, so they stopped the help. Many NGOs also fund these types of homes but it has depleted now. There are some problems related to the functioning of these organisations that has stopped their own funds. Some NGOs I know which helped such people also closed down,” she said.