Times of India Negative Headlines:
"New Reality: Orphanages as Business"
TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2005 11:28:49 PM ]
BANGALORE: In Karnataka, all you need to start an orphanage for children
is to have a building. You needn't have a license. The corollary of this
glaring shortcoming: lack of accountability and a quick buck for the asking.
Having unearthed a major racket involving many individuals out to exploit
orphans for their gains, the Karnataka State Council for Child Welfare has
written to the government to license the 5,000-odd orphanages or institutions
working for the "welfare" of children. What was the modus operandi
of some applicants? Approach an NGO and offer to take care of a few children.
Put out their details on the web inviting foreign sponsors. And even as the
foreign deal is being worked out, hire out the children for employment.
"In the absence of a licensing system, there are no checks and balances on
persons starting such institutions. Every week, the council has individuals
approaching us to give children, because they want to educate them.
They show some fancy building to NGOs and take away children only to exploit
them and earn money," says child welfare committee chairperson Neena Nayak.
The Orphanages and Charitable (Control and Regulation) Act of 1960 has it
that anyone starting an institution for orphaned children must be licensed.
But Karnataka is yet to implement the Act. Result: Individuals merely register
their association with the registrar of societies and set up business.
"Since the nature of their work is not revealed and there is no followup
action, exploitation goes on unabated," she said. The department of women
and child welfare merely conducts inspections.
The committee receives at least five requests every week seeking permission
for such institutions. "Even if we refuse and wish to check their credentials,
they approach an NGO for children. Unless we begin licensing these institutions,
child abuse will continue," Nayak said.
Letters to the Editor Not Published by TOI:
From: ronnie johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: email@example.com Date: Oct 12, 2005 8:54 AM Subject: Article
in TOI, 12th Oct, 2005
Sub: Regarding Orphanages
Sub: Article on Orphanages by Seethalakshmi S., dated 12 Oct., 2005
I am quite surprised by your news reporter's article under the caption 'New
Reality: Orphanages as business'. The article is very one sided, and unfortunately
blankets all Orphanages as a 'business racket'. More surprisingly, is that
there is no research done to find ot is the statement made in the reported
article is true, and is there are any genuine orphanages. Your reporter should
have done home work, and by this 'negative' reporting, many children will
now suffer because people will not give the needy and suspiciously look at
every orphanage as 'racketeers'.
How many of those in the reported article have gone down into the gutters
or dustbins and picked up a child who is lying in urine and eating his own
faeces, or who is eating his flesh because of hunger? When there is someone
from those 'welfare board' organizations who can stand up and be another
Mother Teresa, then let them make statements, and your reporter convey those
messages. Has the Chairperson ever done this? If so, then I apologize.
Kindly have an 'Open Forum' to rectify the statement made by the reporting
I support an Orphanage which is running for the last 18 years without Government
support, and it hurts to see what a few rash irrelevant statements reported
could do to the people who struggle to look after the despised, neglected,
castaway, abused, street children and challenged children.
The report does not mention the 'Catch 22' situation, that the Government
does not want to take care of Orphanages, but at the same time does not allow
NGO's to do so.
many years ago, my late uncle Joe Vaz was the sub-editior of TOI Bombay,
and he was very meticulous in correct and positive reporting and not just
'headline' captioning grabbing. He always stood for the correctness and 'positive
thinking' of a balanced report.
By reporting a person's statement, you as TOI have done a great damage to
the children who are less fortunate in Bangalore.
Ronnie Johnson, The BangaloreWalla,
91 80 22240145, My Bangalore Page: http://www.oocities.org/ronnie.johnson
5/3 King Street, Bangalore 560025
Reubin Fernandez <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: email@example.com Date: Oct 13, 2005 9:25 AM
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Shalom, 2AC 204 HRBR Layout,
Block 3, Bangalore 560084
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
The Times Of India,
Sub: Letter to the Editor
Reference: TOI dated Wed: 12 Oct 2005 Titled: ‘New Reality : Orphanages
The above report by Seethalakshmi. S published on the front page of your
paper was totally unworthy of a newspaper of your stature. In one sweeping,
baseless report you have tarnished the image of countless orphanages that
are doing selfless services in rehabilitating abandoned, unwanted children.
True, like in every other field of service there are some unscrupulous persons
who exploit the system and they should be exposed & dealt with by the
law. But to generalise and publish such un-researched or baseless allegation
is irresponsible, to say the least. I suggest that your reporter take a tour
of some of the orphanages in this very city of Bangalore and see for herself
the work being done by several institutions and committed individuals who
toil without any Government support, depending only on the generosity of
people of goodwill and the strength of their commitment. It is the duty of
the media like the TOI to mobilise support & promote such work . The
Times Of India/Bangalore Times daily features flashy colour pages of the
rich & famous partying for frivolous causes and occasions. If only a
fraction of this money & publishing space could be dedicated for the
benefit of these unfortunate children, the lives of so many homeless children
on our streets could have been different. Please Sir, these orphanages are
not asking for your promotion or publicity but at least do not deride &
marginalise the good work by such arm-chair reporting.
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Date: Oct 14, 2005 8:22 PM Subject: Article on orphanages by Seethalakshmi
As a Fellow of the Royal Society of Health in London and author of the Society's
paper "Healing Cities" (on the web), I, along with others, strive to promote
the Society's precept of raising worldwide awareness of city habitation issues.
We mobilise support to alleviate desease and society breakdown. We support
causes that need help.
It was cheap journalism of the worst kind that has undone the work of countless
honest and well intended individuals in Bangalore when the Times of India
chose to publish sensationalist headlines("New Reality: Orphanages as business"
TOI news network 11th Oct.2005). I had thought the TOI stood for thorough
research and balanced journalism. I read an article that was sensationalist,
unresearched, factually unsupported and mendacious.
Can you imagine how insulting it is to everyone's efforts outside India that
we are portrayed as mugs who are being hoodwinked on the web into stumping
up funds? Do you think we do not check?
Whether or not a licencing arrangement for orphanages were to exist, the
dire need for monetary assistance exists in a city straining in its growth.You
have a Government that choses not to licence. It has its reasons but I note
that it is the one pushing for more capacity. Do not destroy the desperately
needed assistance for children abandoned by their society by talking up scandals.
Believe me, I would rather be stung for a donation than to feel I have stood
idly by while the sick, the disabled, the homeless and the unloved rot on
street corners. Have you no shame?
I am actively involved in helping the Morning Star project in Bangalore.
It is a Learning Centre and orphanage.
Why? because I have great affection for a city I was educated in. Here is
an organisation of selfless individuals desperately trying to provide a home
for abandoned and ignored children who are physically and mentally disabled.
Bangalore needs people like this.In a city of rising prosperity they see
many falling through the net.They are rolling up their sleeves and doing
something about it. Are you?
Rather than being praised they stand accused of fraud by your paper that
choses to brand everyone in the industry with collective guilt without a
single quoted example. How will these people move on? How will the children
survive as you so assiduously turn off the tap of assistance?
The least you could do is go and look at what they are doing, talk to the
people who have given up everything to help, talk to the donors, talk to
the children. Be balanced in your jounalism.
So I call upon the Times of India.Make amends. Help us,don't work against
Martin Habell Dip.Arch.(Thames) ATP RIBA FRSH