Jan 14, 2021

The Struggle for A Meal

The difficulties and the desperation—the effects of the pandemic that we witnessed were heart-wrenching. We met parents who struggled to feed their kids, elderly members of the families who feared for the survival of their children and grandchildren and entire communities of poverty stricken families who hadn’t eaten two square meals in days.

The loss of jobs during lockdown quickly led to starvation.

Unfortunately, even the lift in this lockdown didn’t ease the situation for everyone. As most of us, here in India, struggled to return to normal lives, many of the poor families found it harder to get their jobs back.

Balai (picture above) is one such person who lost his income. He worked as a cook before the COVID-19 lockdown. Having always grappled with poverty, Balai worked hard for his earnings—even at a mature age of 75. That, however, was before the pandemic struck the country and eventually spread in the state of West Bengal.

His meager income meant the family had no savings. They exhausted their rations within a few weeks and ended up relying on the little food relief they occasionally received from few humanitarian organisations. When our team met him, Balai’s family had been struggling for months.

Our focus has been on making our kits with ample food that is also nutritious for the families. Balai and his family received rice—a staple here in West Bengal—along with pulses, soya beans, oil, salt, biscuits and soaps. The soaps were for their safety during the pandemic. With so little nutrition in their system, elderly Balai and his wife were especially vulnerable to the virus.

This pandemic pushed the under-served communities of India into a phase that has been as critical as it has been unprecedented.

While most of us fear the virus, the poorest of the communities worry about their next meal. While we are trying to strengthen our immune system to better our chances of fighting COVID-19, there are families here in the villages starving.

As we continue our efforts to reach more families in need of food, we are grateful to have the support for donors and partners who’ve joined us in this mission.


Oct 26, 2020

Communities and primary care during COVID crisis

There are always challenges in making high-quality healthcare accessible and available to the poor rural communities in low-cost. The COVID-19 outbreak, however, has been especially difficult and has demanded extraordinary measures.

The lockdown in India directly affected our operations and even after we strived to bring back normalcy in our services, we realized the underprivileged communities either lacked in the understanding of life saving preventive measures or completely ignored them. Thus, in these past months, we have been combining quality treatment with COVID prevention awareness. We have incorporated several preventive measures within our operations. Screens have been put up to shield the patients as well as our team. Masks and gloves have been made mandatory for all staff members along with daily temperature checks. Patients, too, get their temperature checked and we have sanitizers as well as handwashing areas set up for them.

After observing an aversion to masks among our communities, for their own safety we have made proper face covering mandatory for seeking treatment. We have also distributed masks among them.

The underprivileged and rural communities are especially vulnerable during any crisis and currently we are witnessing an increase in coronavirus cases in the rural areas. The critical need for primary care, however, is still clearly evident.

Despite the restrictions in railway services in India—an important and often main method of transportation for rural residents—we have noticed a considerably high patient count. Since restarting our services post-lockdown, we have treated over 35,700 patients.

Basic primary medical care is crucial to improving and maintaining ones health so, now more than ever, we have to continue our work with even greater vigour. The outbreak has been relentless in its effect on the poor but we, too, are persistent in our efforts.


Sep 16, 2020

Sustenance and Shielding during Critical Emergency

For the poor, COVID-19 is much bigger than a health issue. With most families having a hand-to-mouth existence, the lockdown and the eventual loss of jobs had resulted in a state so critical that it threatened their very survival.

Our teams on the ground had encountered families who hadn’t eaten for days. Some were on the verge of exhausting the little savings they had and others merely had enough to buy milk for their children.

The situation demanded swift action.

We worked fast to quickly identify areas and families in need of aid and started reaching out to them with our emergency food kit. The kit comprised of rice, pulses, potatoes, oil, salt and biscuits to sustain them, along with soaps and masks to protect them against the virus. We distributed these kits among rural as well as urban communities. We also equipped our distribution teams with proper protective shielding such as masks, gloves, sanitizers and even face-shields.

Despite the lift in the lockdown, the condition of these poor communities remains the same. Along with the daily wage earners, we are also witnessing loss of earnings among other low-income workers such as domestic helps.

We too, however, are continuing our efforts for the communities, many of whom have been doubly affected because of the devastating cyclone Amphan that hit the State in the month of May. We have already served some of the villages near our healthcare centres like Swarupnagar and others, along with some of the most underdeveloped areas of greater Kolkata, such as Hatiara but we are preparing to serve many more.

Taking inspiration from the resilience of the very people we are serving, we are standing by our communities despite the challenges from the outbreak to ensure their survival during this critical crisis.


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