On Eid, spare a thought for Valleys orphans ‘If my parents were alive…”

Srinagar:With Eid-ul-Fitr being celebrated today and its excitement spreading joy and happiness all over, the air of festivity can be seen more distinctively among children who are busy flooding the markets to gear for the festival. Yet, there are countless orphans in the valley who are living in institutions and they have little reason to smile as they spend the festival differently and with utmost simplicity.

There are hundreds of bereaved children who are living in various orphanages who are living life in isolation and it is need of the hour that they too become an important part of the society and live like normal families so that they could also participate and not able to celebrate the festival and by becoming important part of the society and celebrate Eid like normal families.

No relative comes to meet and console them even on Eid and they are living alone in the world. They celebrate the Eid with other orphans just like as family members. “If my parents would have been living, I would have visited different recreational places, parks and gardens with  family like other children. But, now they are no more we have no option other than to celebrate the festival with the other orphans who can better understand our pain than the normal ones,” said Rifat, an orphan.

On these occasions, young girls love to wrap themselves in beautiful and trendy outfits. There is a range of different dresses and accessories for the girls. But, in one of the orphanage of Yateem Trust, Banaat Orphanage which houses 115 girls at its Gopalpora campus the girls celebrates the Eid in a unique way and in unison.

Having tears in her eyes, Rifat says that girls at Banaat have also prepared for the Eid in their own ways like cleaning the orphanage, preparing special recipes and then doing a shopping as well. “On every Eid we select three girls through lucky draw who on everyone’s behalf go out for shopping with the staff and purchase clothes as well as other accessories. That way there remains no bias. We also play different games and do lot of activities and try to celebrate,” she adds.

According to a recent survey conducted by the sociology department of Kashmir University along with Jammu and Kashmir Yateem Foundation, Kashmir has an approximate number of 2.14 lakh orphans and 32,000 widows due to the two decades of turmoil.

Eid is a time of happiness in which everybody has a reason to smile and sharing the joy with family, relatives and friends. However, orphaned children feel the pain of not having parents whenever any religious festivity such as Eid is around.

“For everyone, it is an opportunity to reunite and celebrate. But, the orphans are confined to celebrate within the four walls instead of moving out freely and celebrate Eid with the family like rest of the children. Although, we take them out for a picnic or to visit a shrine but still it is not possible to provide them with hundred percent family environments,” said Zahoor Ahmed Tak, Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Yateem Trust.

Normally, all the children receive gifts or Idi as a token of love from their relatives and family but Tak said that he himself distributes the money to all orphans.  “We celebrate the Eid with simplicity and completely as per Islamic way. We try to provide every facility to the girls so that they shouldn’t feel low on the holy festival. Many pious people come and visit our orphanage to give company to the young girls which makes them quite jubilant,” Tak added.