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Healing the young mourners

Healing the young mourners
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Any loss can cause lingering pain, but the loss of a parent can be particularly difficult to bear. Over the last few months, we saw heart-wrenching tragedies in families, where children lost their parents. While it created a permanent void in their lives, the loss of fathers - who were also the sole earners in the family - led to financial crises.

As the percentage of unemployment continues to rise due to the ongoing pandemic, it has undoubtedly become burdensome for the widows to manage their home finances while also taking care of their kids and other family members.

So this Father's Day, a group of entrepreneur-fathers from Preet Vihar - Manoj, Sirish, Javed, Aniket and Kumar - have come out to extend a helping hand to the youngest grievers. They have planned and started an initiative to teach students who cannot afford to pay for their education fees currently, due to their father's demise.

Though it will not take away the agony of these young children, the gesture would make them feel less lonely on Father's Day.

With them are six teenagers (under 18) who are not in the position to get jobs due to the pandemic crisis. Together they teach students of classes one to five on weekdays with subjects ranging from Maths, Science, English, etc. They also engage with the students in creative sessions such as art and craft, plays and quizzes. For the time being, the teenagers get a decent sum of Rs 10,000 as their salaries.

"We cannot feel the pain of these children who have lost their fathers, but we do know the loss of a loved one. We also understand the burden on such children who have no other family relatives to help them out financially. So we came out with a plan that not only involves these teens getting financial help, but in turn, also teaching younger students for free," says Manoj, a 32-year-old entrepreneur, a teacher and father of two kids.

Aniket shares, "I believe that our initiative is a three-way process to help these children. The teenagers teach younger kids for which they get decently paid, while the younger students get free education in return."

"We organise all the classes keeping in mind the protocols of COVID-19 - social distancing, sanitisation and wearing of masks," he informs.

Junaid, a 16-year-old teenager contributing to the cause, feels that he can make a career out of this initiative in the long run.

"I and five others have found a way to share our knowledge with the kids through this initiative. Though the opportunity was initially offered to help us financially, I feel it is something that we can make a permanent career out of," he says.

Tanisha, who lost her father just a few weeks before Father's Day, shares, "I will never be able to fill the void I feel after my father's death. But that does not mean that I cannot provide help to these young

students who are also going through tough times just like me and others. We make sure that these kids get the best from us through this initiative."

"Thank you is not enough to express how grateful I am to Aniket sir, Javed sir and others who came forward to help us in such times. I feel miserable doing anything ever since my father passed away. However, helping the kids with their studies gives me a sense of satisfaction. I feel the need to help those who are also suffering at such a young age," admits 17-year-old Rohita.

To believe that time heals all wounds is an absurd way of letting oneself wish for better days because that belief cannot heal the invisible scars of these teens. Nothing at all can bring their deceased fathers back - a cruel reminder that will always sting them for life. But this Father's Day, we pray that they find a ray of hope to come out of the darkness.

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