Social media has become the means that connects dots from around the world, making a web of tangled emotions that trouble and amuse us. The sight of homeless orphans on our newsfeed is enough to leave a frown on our face the whole day. We say silent prayers for the unfortunate children and hope to God we don’t have to face that reality. But the thing is, homelessness and orphaned children are a reality we can no longer ignore in our society.
Since the inauguration of the first orphanage in the Maldives on 07th October 2006, the government has been claiming responsibility for orphaned children, along with those unfortunate enough to be left behind or neglected by their families. Constructed in Vilimale’, the orphanage was designed to house children under the age of 9, under the supervision of the Gender Ministry. Though the orphanage was officially inaugurated in 2006, they had been unofficially providing shelter for orphans since 2004.
As the children grew up, the government continued to care for the orphaned and neglected children until they reached 18 years of age. But with time, the lack of space in the shelter proved to be a great challenge for the government as congestion increased among the occupants of the shelter. Years of struggling to find better means for these children, a family belonging to UAE offered a free grant of $689,000 for the construction of another orphanage in Hulhumale’ in December 2014.
The foundation of this new orphanage funded by Mahmoud al Haja was laid by President Yameen. The orphanage was officially inaugurated on 17th February 2016 by the First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim; though children had already been transferred to the shelter since 13th of the month.
The new orphanage, called Fiyavathi, is a two-storied building with a total of 12 rooms. The building makes it easier to look after children by separating age groups and genders. A total of 70 children under the age of 9 currently reside in Fiyavathi. The upper storey houses children above 2 years while the lower story houses children below the age of 2.
Speaking of the orphanage, their CEO Zinaaz Adnan said that Fiyavathi would provide ease for the staff as well as the children as the building has enough space and suitable furniture for the children. The orphanage in Vilimale’ provides shelter for 117 children while Fiyavathi can provide shelter for 125 children, although there are only 70 children residing there currently.
Finally something that erases a little of the frown on our faces. There’s hope for the orphaned children in the Maldives. With the government looking out for them and providing them with shelter, what remains is for us to ask ourselves if we are living up to our responsibilities as citizens. Are we doing enough for the children in our society?