Looking to a bleak future

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Deprived of their breadwinners, troubled families and orphaned children place their hopes on government aid

For the 14-year-old Prashant, the world turned upside down within five days. He came from a weaving family in Penukonda, Anantapur district, and lost both parents to a COVID-19 infection within three days (May 16 and 19).

His father, K. Janardhan, who continued the family job of weaving and also worked as a reporter for a media company, lost his wife Anitha on May 16, despite taking care of her in all possible ways.

Even before the father-son duo could cope with their loss, this time COVID-19 struck again and infected Janardhan. On May 18, he turned positive. He was admitted to a private hospital in Anantapur and died on Wednesday. The family has six handlooms that have served as their main source of income. Janardhan played a key role in obtaining orders and hiring staff to weave Dharmavaram silk saris. Prashant is too young to take responsibility. He is now dazed and staring at a bleak future.

The treatment costs for Janardhan and Anita have wiped out the family’s small savings, and the boy only has one paternal uncle, who is also poor financially, to provide moral support.

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A few kilometers away in the village of Somandepalli, Ravindra, another part-time journalist for a local Telugu newspaper, succumbed to COVID-19 three days ago, leaving a young woman and three-year-old son whom he had no access to. The family has a loom that they used to collect money, and Ravindra took care of financial matters. After spending their money on Ravindra’s treatment, the family now depends on contributions from his friends and colleagues to survive.

They are placing their hopes on government aid to overcome the crisis. The Janardhan family members are awaiting the state government promised £ 10 for orphaned children, while Ravindra and Janardhan are entitled to the state announced £ 5 compensation.

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