The nest in which children derive happiness and joy is the family which provides them love, care, food, clothing and shelter on the one hand and opportunities to realise their full potential on the other. Unfortunately a large number of children are deprived of parental protection because of death or desertion of one or both parents, inability of parents to take adequate care due to disease, alcoholism, poverty or abandonment which could be because of birth outside wedlock. Such children, if not cared for and protected, become victims of abuse and neglect which leads to further alienation of the children from society.
Every child has a hero and one such hero for 800 orphan children came in a form of late Zaputou-ü Angami of Dihoma Village. Zaputou-ü Angami, widow of an army jawan, laid the foundation KHOD in April 16, 1973 when she brought home an orphan boy child, whom she named Dezelie. In 2004 she received Rajiv Gandhi Manav Sewa and is also the lone awardee of “Read Heroes” by CNN-IBN from the East India. She died on 24 March 2011, after 38 years of dedicated service to humanity through KHOD. By then she had sheltered as many as 659 destitute children.
There are many orphanages championing the cause of homeless children to make them live with dignity and also to provide opportunities for a better future. One such humanitarian initiative is being undertaken by the Kohima Orphanage and Destitute Home (KODH) which is situated 5 kms from Kohima town on the Dimapur road, National Highway 39. This orphanage provides refuge to children bereft of their near and dear ones or abandoned by their parents. It runs through donations in cash and kind made by the occasional visitors. It aims at securing a better life for the children and helping them become self reliant through its work on education, vocational education, health, rehabilitation and more importantly counseling delivered with affection and encouragement.
Mrs Neibanuo Angami, who now runs the Kohima Orphanage and Destitute Home (KODH), candidly admits that she is only trying to follow in her mother’s footsteps, taking care of the disadvantaged. She attributes the running of KHOD as a collective effort of the people of Nagaland, who she says are taking care of the children at her home through their various contributions. She is one of India’s 100 women achievers honoured by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) in 2016. Mrs Neibanuo Angami also acknowledged the association and contribution of the Army and Assam Rifles with the orphanage home. She remarked that the Assam Rifles has been like an extended family of KHOD ever since its founding years. The Assam Rifles has facilitated in infrastructural extension of the Orphanage in 2006, besides recurring assistance in kind. An infrastructural assistance for 9.5 Lakh is also being undertaken and is likely to complete by Dec this year.
Since its inception till date, 800 children from different parts of Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar have been blessed to be a part of KHOD, most of them are gainfully employed in varied professions and leading a well settled lives. The home presently accommodates 93 children comprising 26 girls and 67 boys. Most children are pursuing their studies in various schools within Kohima. The school authorities have admitted the students into their schools without fees. Kohima Orphanage and Destitute Home still stands as a symbol of love and strength for children without a home or parents and setting precedence for the society to respect and embrace.
PRO, HQ IGAR (N)
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