Jul 28, 2020

The Pipal Tree Foundation Breathes Life into Indian Migrant Workers in Crisis

The migrant worker crisis…

When India went into a 21-day, nationwide lockdown on March 22, 2020, the migrant workers faced the biggest crisis of their lives. These labourers, who were stranded hundreds of kilometres away from home, started their homeward journey on foot, without food or water. Their hope of livelihood was further thwarted when the lockdown extended by a further 40 days, with no signs of the pandemic receding. A complete shutdown of businesses, construction work, industries across the country meant no jobs, no return to the city, and no hope of any wages. The most marginalized community in India was hit the hardest in the aftermath of the pandemic and were left traumatized, tired, defeated, hungry…and jobless.

 The Pipal Tree Foundation to the rescue…

The Pipal Tree Foundation is of the belief that while the migrant workers needed short-term rations and food for sustenance of their families in the villages, there also needed to be a longer-term approach to providing sustainable livelihood to them and restoring their dignity, confidence and hope.

 With this thought process in mind, the Pipal Tree Foundation launched a project to provide immediate relief (dry rations for a month)and medium-term relief (skills training to 10,000 migrant workers conducted at their villages in 8 states across India). Funds were raised within a short span of two months from corporate and retail donors to support this cause, and by June 2020, the project was well underway to support the migrant community in 2 states across India.

 The project realization and success…

With tireless dedication, The Pipal Tree Foundation team has successfully realized the project in 3 villages of Uttar Pradesh and 2 villages of Bihar in the two months of June and July 2020.

 Phase - I: Immediate Relief – Distribution of Food and Personal Hygiene Essentials

A total of 3650 kgs of dry ration and household essentials like wheat, rice, dal, atta, sugar, salt, surf and hand soap were distributed to families of the migrant worker beneficiaries for a month to cushion the blow caused by the lockdown. A total of 135 rural families have benefited from this support so far.

Phase - II: Medium-Term Relief – Skill Development Program

120 hours of non-residential training per person has been provided to 300 migrant workers over a period of 2 months to provide them skills in masonry and electrician work. Migrant workers were provided complimentary meals during the training. A free construction kit was provided to each worker so that they could get productive with their skills immediately.

 A Promising Future for the migrants…

So far 135 workers have successfully completed their training, have been provided a NSDC certification (accredited by Govt Of India).  The organisation hopes to provide these workers with employment opportunities in local construction projects within the state in order to earn a sustainable livelihood. The best part is that these workers would not have to travel back to the cities to find employment, but are going to be placed in close proximity to their villages. They can be near their families and also are equipped to feed them well.

Miles to go before we sleep…

90% of India’s workforce is employed in the informal sector and 400 million such migrant workers stand at the brink of falling deeper into poverty due to the endless Covid-19 crisis. The Pipal Tree Foundation team will continue to work tirelessly to support these migrant workers by providinggainful employment and hope for a better and sustainable future for themselves and their families.

Covid or not, our spirit is unstoppable. Onwards and upwards!

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