Covid outbreak and subsequent lockdown has badly hit the livelihoods across the country. Daily wagers have been suffering since the day lockdown was announced. As the migrant workers started going back to their villages, it resulted in a bigger head count to fend for, in villages which had no opportunities to earn a living. Although lockdown is being lifted up slowly, but there are severely affected pockets, which are still far away from normalcy. Markets havebeen given permission to open, but due to fear of corona infection, people are not venturing out. There is also a financial crunch, so people are not purchasing.
Bulandshahr, falling in NCR region is one such district where number of Corona cases is high and people in villages are finding it hard to survive in this crisis. Landless farmers and labour class is sitting idle, with no opportunities for any work. AROH Foundation has been actively engaged in holistic rural development in some of the villages of Bulandshahr for the past 5 years. The programmes improved the lives of people in these communities through sustainable initiatives in the field of Education, Skill Development, Health and Sanitation, Water Conservation and Natural Resource Management. The gains and impact of these interventions has been quite visible and more than 5000 families have benefited from the programme.However, the unprecedented and unfortunate COVID outbreak has threatened both lives and livelihoods. Small and marginal farmers, landless farmers, labour class have been badly hit in this crisis.
Ikram, a daily wage-earner at a construction site has been out-of-work for the past 3 months now. He belongs toKuchhejavillage in Bulandshahrand has a family of four members to support.He has come back to his village and is looking for work to feed his family. He could not avail any support or subsidy from the Government. Pain is writ large on his face as he clutches some papers submitted for ration, “Free ration was only for those whose names were there on the ration card. But we don’t have any ration card” says Ikram. The private ration shop is also about two kms away from his house, and to go on foot in that the scorching heat and buy things at doubled the price is very painful. Similar stories were heard from almost all families living in this village, where some people are not getting any ration at all. AROH Foundation took a step forward to digitally connect with such families. “We are devastated.” said Ikramto Dr. Neelam Gupta, Founder President, AROH, during a Facebook LIVE series, “Samvaad”.
Moved with their plight, AROH took up for the cause and identified 100 poorest families who were starving and had little kids going without food. Funds were raised through a fundraiser put up on social media. AROH raised the appeal to people around the globe to come forward and donate for the ration of the families through a very transparent and authentic online platform created exclusively by AROH professionals. People believed in the cause and systems of AROH as always, and overwhelming response started pouring in within a very short timespan of the appeal going live. With an immediate response, all 100 families were supported with ration kitson 8th June 2020,which can last them from a week to 10 days. Also recognising that giving food is not a permanent solution, AROH has started its efforts to facilitate livelihood options for poor villagers and migrant workers. They are being linked with jobs under MNEREGA and construction industries. It might be while before all of them get engaged in gainful activities are able to make their living.
AROH Foundation has been active since the threat of COVID surfaced in March 2020. The Foundation has been working in various capacities to support the government machineries in dealing with the pandemic, helping people on road, and simultaneously being the constant support to the medical fraternity and hospitals. Through a strategic holistic approach, AROH stepped in to support government, people and corona fighters through all possible means. These series of relief measures included supply of food packets and water to the needy ones, sagety kits in communities and clinical safety gears to medical professionals, patrolling support for lockdown implementation and online counselling sessions to the people in distress. At present, AROH’s volunteers are engaged into psychological counselling, offline community screening and education. AROH has been developing corona awareness collaterals and very responsibly sharing through our social media platforms.
To fight COVID affects and after affects, AROH Foundation has introduced a portal for online fund raising, so that people who are bounded by lockdown can also contribute. Outpourings of generosity during the coronavirus pandemic are part of a shift toward direct giving. These funds are being transparently utilised for uninterrupted supply of relief measures. Relief work is updated on regular basis on our corona dedicated page at http://arohforpeople.in/
“A migrant labourer eating the carcass of a dog, children and women struggling for just a packet of biscuit, a child tugging at his dead mother’s clothes, a two-year-old child dying after spending 39 hours on a train, hungry, people collapsing during their long and tiring walk home, surviving on barely one meal a day! These are not chapters of a thriller movie but heart wrenching 60 days of India which is going to haunt us for a long time now. We have failed as a nation while not been able to provide two square meal to our people”, says Dr. Neelam Gupta, Founder President AROH Foundation.
“We understand the gravity of the situation and know that the fight is long. It will be a tough battle if the fund raised through multiple sources goes low. We are entirely dependent on these funds to keep the fight rolling.I request every individual to support the cause and contribute their bit in this fight”, she adds.