The Orphan community in Pakistan is one of the least recognized and organized communities of Pakistan. We have organizations such as SOS village and Aghosh orphan care center which are empowering and nurturing the orphan community in Pakistan. By definition, an orphan is someone whose biological parents are no more in the world. In an undeveloped country like Pakistan with already overwhelming issues such as poverty and corruption, there have been several cases in which orphans have been violated in terms of their inheritance rights. This community is much underrepresented in the media. There has hardly been a movement to empower them and their rights in Pakistan. Another factor which the orphan community is devoid of medical health treatments.
The shelter homes and care centers which take care of the orphan community and protect them from the outside poverty and criminal set-ups to some extent and to a certain age group, they fell short in realizing the other lifestyle and health fundamental factors such as mental health. The orphan community naturally comes with a huge baggage of an emotional burden.
They are naturally devoid of a major universal blessing of parents. This void always keeps them insecure and disturbed. They also consider themselves inferior to other children with supportive parents.
During the course of their stays at organizations or shelter homes, they further feel themselves as someone who doesn’t have the luxuries that people of their age have. They have reason to feel uncertain about life which also makes their mental health inconsistent and uncertain.
All the orphanages and welfare centers should provide children with stress management seminars and individual therapy sessions. They should be provided with a mentor and an emotional anchor in front of whom they can vent out their stress hormones. It is important to make them feel superior about them rather than an inferior pupil which further adds to their insecurities.
Organizations such as SOS Village should also create opportunities for these orphans to live with good families and should work for better child adoption policies. This is very important that the adoption procedures and regularities in the country become more refined and organized to protect orphans who get adopted from the outside or external families with whom they’ll have to live now. They should initiate a legal system in which they will be able to make legal visits at the family’s residence and check on a monthly or yearly basis to confirm that the child is safe.
They are exposed to the harsh realities of society in an early age. They experience unacceptance and changed behavior of people around them. In Pakistan there have been several cases about this community’s violation and exploitation in regards to their inheritance rights. There have also been media reports about fraud with them by their own relatives. These children have been a victim of heinous crimes such as child trafficking and child abuse.
A significant percentage of these kids have been from the lower class of the society hence they already are tackling financial and educational stress, tensions. These children have suffered problems such as child trafficking to foreign countries where they are sold for money and are used as slaves and labor staff. They are also often exploited and are sold to escorting or prostitution rackets.
They get extremely bad treatment by these criminals. They mostly get stuck in the cycle and find it hard to escape it or run out of it. Even in Pakistan they are sold to such racket owners who only make them involved in further immoral or illegal activities.
International media artifacts have shed light on how many orphans are used by begging rackets who make these children beggars and make a subject of brutality.
An unhealthy and non-protective up-bringing can lead to long term depression which can further be extended to anxiety issues. There needs to be medical counselling of this community at every orphanage and community centers for them. Their mental health needs to be treated.
They should be given free or inexpensive therapy sessions. They also require government’s empowering laws and policies. Government should create a loan scheme for them for educational or cooperative reasons for orphans in the country which they can access through a mobile application.
There has also been several unfortunate cases of child labor by of adopted children. In such cases children who get adopted are used as a house staff or a domestic worker in the disguise of the adoption. In this case the kids work for the family as a slave in return of the shelter and food that they provide them. These children are exploited and are treated as unpaid labor at home. This needs to be rechecked to make sure the community is safe.
A digital media application should be created by the government of Pakistan to empower this community and to make sure that they are safe. Everyone orphan should have access to the app after a certain age. This will give them a platform to raise attention to their causes and issues in the form of this app. This app should also be interlined with police stations and rescue numbers in cases of emergency. This app should also have an option of online therapy sessions on a scheduled date. Many orphans cannot afford a traditional mental health expert’s fee and hence the government should provide them some sort of mini therapy sessions online. The rich people of the society can be used for donations and taxes by the government to spend on the services being provided by this application.
This app should also help them approach lawyers and legal councilors at a cheaper price to this community. Government should also make PSMs and short films on national media platforms to spread awareness about orphans’ rights and the punishment of their violations. Government should also make PSMs and short films on national media platforms to spread awareness about orphans’ rights and the punishments of their violations.
Shariya Shafiq is a final year student of BA (Hons) in media studies (PR and Advertising) at Beaconhouse National University (BNU).