As the Coronavirus pandemic has created havoc across the world, the plight of the daily laborers and the migrant workers seems even worse because of the nationwide lockdown in India.
One day, they earned their livelihoods from employment in construction and courier companies, in hotels and restaurants, in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) making automotive parts or cardboard boxes. The next day, they lost all their income. Children's education has been disrupted. Would they be able to return to their "secure" jobs? Who knows?
As the country is in lockdown, our associates have been assisting in the communities where they operate. However, it has been difficult to do a mass scale outreach. Since last week, we are working with three of our close associates who have launched initiatives at a larger scale which I would like to share with you,
Samaj Pragati Sahyog (SPS) is funding over 12,000 tribal and rural families in Madhya Pradesh by directly depositing Rs. 1000 in to the bank acct. of the women of the house. This would help them buy the absolute essentials for the next 30 days. They know each and every woman through the self-help groups that they run and have their bank details. You may wonder, why give cash? We asked the same question. However, given the lockdown, procuring the essentials in large quantities and providing them to individual families is a logistical challenge. This approach, therefore, seems quite practical under the current circumstances. Plus, providing the money to the woman rather than the man offers a little more sense of security. We also realized that even the US government is sending a check of $1200 to each adult in America and not toilet papers, face masks and hand sanitizers that everyone wants…
ANT, Assam is also providing Rs. 150 per family member for a week of supplies to the women in the area of about 200 villages that they serve. Additionally, they are going door to door to spread the awareness of the disease, providing help line and assisting the Local Administration to make sure that the essentials reach the people who need them most and not rot in the local warehouses.
Ved Arya of Srijan/Buddha Fellowship Program has launched an initiative of creating a coalition of 20 organizations across India to offer an holistic approach in helping the population of migrant daily laborers, who have suffered the most in this crisis. They plan to raise awareness, extend support to the local governing bodies so that these laborers actually receive the benefits of the government schemes, facilitate the supply of food and basic necessities from the private industries, etc.
Not to forget the outreach done by our close associates,
- Snehalaya is providing essentials to the migrant laborers and families in the neighboring slums of Ahmednagar
- Parivaar is attending to the demands and gaps in their project area of 150+ villages in MP
- Atmashakti is providing essentials to the families of the rag pickers in the slums of Ghaziabad
- The Amte family is taking care of the surrounding villages of Anandwan and Lok Biradari Prakalp, Hemalkasa
- Samaritan Help Mission is taking care of the slums in Tikiapara, Howrah
- Mahan is attending to the health and nutrition of over 40 tribal villages in the Melghat region
We realize that all of us are facing our own challenges at home. However, if you would like to extend help to the poor in India please contribute below,
Contribute by Check: Make check payable to, "Arpan Foundation" and mail it to, Arpan Foundation 556 N. Diamond Bar Blvd, Ste. 201-B, Diamond Bar, CA 91765.