During this challenging time, all the communities that we serve in India and Nepal are affected by the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus. We are in touch with our partners on the ground and are responding to regular updates.
For the families in West Bengal receiving support for their children with disabilities, as in the rest of India, they are under lockdown restrictions. There are food shortages because markets are closed, no running water in many villages and clean drinking water shortages. Daily wage earners and small scaler farmers are desperate as they are unable to work. Nevertheless, our partners are conducting a campaign over the phone through their leaders so that they can make the community aware of the coronavirus and take precautions.
The families mostly live in remote rural areas. There is a lot of additional pressure on them at present because almost all of the parents are casual agricultural labourers, which means they cannot work while the lockdown is in process. It also means that they have no savings or financial safety net. This, along with the rapidly rising food prices means that many families cannot even afford food and basic necessities. In an environment where families are living up to 6 or 7 people in one room, and hundreds of people often share one source of water, it is also pretty much impossible for people to self isolate.
While our work usually focuses on education, gender equality and diginified livelihoods, we are focusing on the immediate needs of marginalised communities and on basic survival necessecities. Because of this we are supporting the distribution of emergency food parcels and hygiene kits to all of the families, so that at least they can sustain themselves and keep up good hygiene practices as far as possible. The staff of the project are also keeping in touch with the families to prevent feelings of isolation. With the support networks that the project provides, the situation is still desperate, but the project provides support so that these families will hopefully be able to weather the storm of this crisis.
Thank you for your continued support at this time and we hope that you and those close to you are well.
With warm wishes and gratitude,
Apr 17, 2020
Update from the Brick Kilns during COVID-19
By Erika Narkiewicz - Digital Fundraiser
Thank you for your continued support, particularly at a time that is so challenging for our global community. I'm writing with an update from our partner's at this project, with some details of the effects of the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown in India.
Since lockdown began, our partners have been providing lunch and dinner daily to students and their families in the Brick Kilns. The community there are of course migrant labourers, who are now stuck - unable to return to their home villages. With nothing else to do, and stuck on the site, most of them are still working, but have no access to food. It is therefore essential that these families continue to be provided with the resources to survive.
While we remain committed to our three focuses of education, gender equality and dignified livelihoods it is the immediate relief of the effects of the coronavirus that is needed in the most marginalised communities at present.
Thank you for your continued support, especially during these uncertain and ever-changing times. I'm writing with an update from our project partners on the ground, delivering relief resources to communities in slums who are affected by the lockdown and the harsh environment they are in.
The work undertaken so far includes conducting phone surveys of people's needs, visiting government offices for information and police departments/stations to get permission for the relief work to continue to go ahead. Groceries are being purchased to alleviate immediate hunger and we are reaching out to tribal communities in the vacinity who are also in need.
Last week we gave funds directly for food supplies, hygiene kits and to promote effective health awareness with approximately 2500 hostel student families, migrant workers and tribal communities in the area around Amaravati.