There are more than 209 children stuck in India today, separated from their parents due to COVID-19. It has been nothing but heartbreaking for the parents and children to stay away from each other.
Flight disruptions and Australia’s border regulations on travel to and from India have been obstacles for parents wanting to reunite with their children. For the past 18 months, they have been looking for endless ways to bring their children back.
Finally in some good news, changes to Australia’s travel restrictions comes as a ray of hope for the parents. The easing of restrictions provides more options for parents to bring their stranded children back home to Australia.
The Department of Home Affairs recently made revisions that expand travel exemptions to include people accompanying an Australian child back to Australia from India if the child’s parents are currently in Australia. This also allows people to apply for an exemption to travel from Australia to India to escort an unaccompanied minor back home.
According to an Australian Border Force official, “suitable people” could accompany Australian children back to their homes. They added, the adult should be a family member who knows the child and can take care of them “through their full duration of journey back to Australia.”
The families who have been granted an exemption to have their children brought from India to Australia expressed they are extremely relieved but wish for the procedure to be made easier for others.
Australian media has reported on a number of parents relying on people who have agreed to act as the child’s guardian during the flight. “The world is getting through this pandemic with kindness and humanity..I’m thankful to the person who got my child back”, says Harpinder who was separated from her child for 15 months.
It is a beautiful gesture of people to accompany someone else’s children during the travel. After all, “the greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane.”