Odisha Launches Help Desk “Sampark” For Providing Psycho-Social Support To Children During COVID-19

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Bhubaneswar: The Odisha State Child Protection Society, in collaboration with UNICEF India, launched a state help desk for children “Sampark” on Thursday. The initiative aims at providing psycho-social support to children during COVID-19.

The virtual launch event was graced by the Minister of WCD & MS, Smt. Tukuni Sahu as the chief guest followed by the Commissioner cum Secretary to Government, WCD Deptt.  Dr. Pramod Kumar Meherda, Chief of UNICEF Field Office Odisha, Dr. Monika Nielsen, Director ICDS & SW, OSCPS, Arvind Agarwal, Ms. Neha Naidu, Child Protection Specialist UNICEF, the DCPOs, CWCs, DCPUs, DSWOs, functionaries of CHILDLINES, CCIs, Chairperson of OSCPCR and partners from UNICEF.

The government of Odisha is committed to protect its children and has taken extraordinary measures to ensure that the help reaches to 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 care takers 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 pandemic period and are unable to take care of them, alone or abandoned and also to children who need care and protection.

Odisha Launches Help Desk

Aravind Agrawal, IAS, Director, ICDS & SW and OSCPS welcomed all the esteemed panelists with introductory remarks. Dr. Monika Nielsen, UNICEF Field Office Odisha gave an insight of the current 2nd wave of the Covid-19 situation in our country and the adverse impact on the children. She emphasizes on the social wellbeing of children has been affected greatly. She congratulated Odisha Govt launched of Ashirbad scheme which shows a great promise of the Deptt. to support children in need of care and protection. She highlighted that the help desk shall help the children in distress and further help the Govt. prepare for crisis that lies ahead of our 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.

The Honorable Minister WCD & MS, Smt. Tukuni Sahu launched the help desk SAMPARK which was followed by the short address by the Commissioner-cum-Secretary Deptt. of WCD who highlighted the importance and the advantages the help desk shall have in the current scenario and acknowledged the Odisha Govt/OSCPS and UNICEF in their countless efforts which has yielded the launch of “SAMPARK”, a dedicated state help desk toll free service utilizing modern telecommunication technologies for reaching out to the children in need. The launch of SAMPARK will help in providing psychosocial support through tele-counseling to children and/or their parents/care givers impacted during or due to Covid-19. 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.  He also envisioned that this helpline shall compliment and strengthen CHILDLINE (1098) service in the State by linking cases to the respective jurisdiction and concerned District Child Protection Unit (DCPU).

The Honorable Minister WCD & MS, Smt. Tukuni Sahu released the Movie on State Help Desk, followed by her enlightening address enumerating various issues surrounding children with the advent of the pandemic, and the role the help desk shall play in aiding the various policies launched by the Govt. and the Deptt. of WCD in the best interests of the children. This decision comes with the hope to strengthen CHILDLINE services by coordination of various Deptts. including Deptt. of School & Mass Education, Deptt. of Health etc. and shall further include a follow up mechanism at the state and district level. She envisioned that a joint effort by all the Departments along with the help desk SAMPARK can lead to the success of the Ashirbaad scheme to ensure the future of our children are protected, their minds are strengthened which shall make them capable to face the world in the future.

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