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 Health  India Project #23676

Food and Medicine for 450 Ragpickers in India

by Tiljala Society for Humans and Educational Development
Food and Medicine for 450 Ragpickers in India
Food and Medicine for 450 Ragpickers in India
Food and Medicine for 450 Ragpickers in India
Food and Medicine for 450 Ragpickers in India
Food and Medicine for 450 Ragpickers in India
Food and Medicine for 450 Ragpickers in India
Food and Medicine for 450 Ragpickers in India
Food and Medicine for 450 Ragpickers in India
Food and Medicine for 450 Ragpickers in India
Food and Medicine for 450 Ragpickers in India
Food and Medicine for 450 Ragpickers in India
Food and Medicine for 450 Ragpickers in India
Food and Medicine for 450 Ragpickers in India
Food and Medicine for 450 Ragpickers in India
Saheen
Saheen

Hunger has the most pernicious effect on the poor: already vulnerable, with unhealthy living conditions and lacking basic necessities like clean water and electricity, hunger drags a family so low that no amount of effort will help them climb out of the desperate cycle of poverty.  Without enough food a labourer hasn’t the energy to work; a child can’t concentrate in school; the sick won’t recover; the weak fall sick. And you can only imagine how a parent feels when she cannot feed all the hungry mouths.

This project aims to provide emergency food and healthcare to help a family through a particularly rough period. With full stomachs, all the family members can start to function again.

Saheen is still at school. Her father died recently leaving her mother to support her son and two daughters. Saheen’s mother is a maidservant – which is extremely low paid and often exploitative work. It is typical for poor illiterate women to take up this kind of work.  On a monthly income of  Rs4000 (£43 or $56) the family cannot survive. It is vital that the children remain in education so that they are able to secure good jobs and take care of themselves and their mother.  A regular food ration from Tiljala SHED makes all the difference: the children can concentrate in school because they have enough to eat and the ration is also an incentive for the mother to keep the children in education.

Farah’s life has become very difficult. She remained in school until class 10 and left to become a shop assistant. She worked in a tiny shop in Kolkata’s Burrabazaar selling cheap jewellery. She recently fell in love with a boy and married him against the wishes of the boy’s family (presumably because she brought no dowry). The boy’s family summoned him home leaving Farah pregnant, jobless and destitute. Farah had supported her widowed mother but now she has a baby and cannot work. They are all very hungry and in need of rations to help them through this period.

My colleagues in Kolkata report how important these food rations are and how the recipients are moved to tears when they realise they can feed their families. Thanks to your generosity – you are saving families from hunger and despair.

Farah, her baby and mother
Farah, her baby and mother
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Rabia
Rabia

My two colleagues, Ayesha and Parveen, have sent through case studies of families who badly need food rations.

It is festival time in Kolkata: the Pujas and Diwali bring families out to the shops and the markets. It is traditional to buy new clothes for the festive season as well as spending time and money eating and spending time with family and friends. Giant brightly-lit and colourful structures, called pandals, are built all over the city and families enjoy walking around enjoying the spectacle.

But I wonder how these two women have spent the holidays: Rabia is a widow. She is 61 years old and lives in a single room with her extended family of 8.  This is what my colleague Ayesha writes: Rabia’s husband expired five years ago. Since then she herself takes care and full responsibility of the family. Her daughter Roshni (age 26) has been deserted by the husband and staying with the mother for the past two years. She prepares paper packets and sells them to the grocers and thus earns a little amount (£6 a month). She has two children. Due to financial crisis is unable to send them to good school. Rabia has 14 year old son who is a child labourer and works in a garage.  Her sister Shakila is also a widow who is disabled and has to beg to help run the family.  Rabia herself is a maidservant, earning $13/£10 a month. Her son earns another £10 and her nephew earns around $9/£7. Between the 8 of them, 4 are working and the total family income is about $39/£30.   If any of them were to fall sick and need medical they would be in even more serious trouble.   

But perhaps Rabia and her family are lucky. Nagma lives on the street.  She too lives with 7 other family members. Read what my colleague Parveen has written:      There are 8 members in the family living on the foothpath. Nagma  tries her best to make ends meet despite the challenges she faces. Her husband is a van puller and although earning  approx. 3000/-  ($42) in a month he hands over very little to the family. Mother is a domestic maid. She is often sick. She also begs near the mosque. Her brother Nehu has liver jaundice and was hospitalised recently. He is having medicines   Another brother named Nasir has tuberculosis  and recovered few months ago but is very weak and hence cannot work . Previously he  used to wash taxis  and  contributed to the family. They face a lot of harassment living on the street and live in constant fear of eviction. The family is going through severe crisis and would be grateful if the emergency food is given to them.      

Thanks to your generosity, Tiljala SHED is able to provide emergency food rations and medical care for some of Kolkata’s most vulnerable families.  Not only are the families very grateful but also my colleagues, who hate to turn away genuinely desperate families.  Almost all Tiljala SHED’s funds are restricted to specific programmes providing education, training and small loans – and they are excellent programmes. But this project enables us to reach out quickly and efficiently to those in immediate and very present need of help.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  PLEASE KEEP SUPPORTING KOLKATA’S MOST VULNERABLE             

Nagma
Nagma
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Sonali and daughter Suhana
Sonali and daughter Suhana

Food rations have been distributed to a number of extremely vulnerable families, thanks to your generosity.  With food in their stomachs, the children can concentrate at school and their mothers have more energy to help themselves out of their terrible situations.  Tiljala SHED also supports these families through the education programme and through the Livelihood Microfinance Programme. Our aim is to empower these women to change their own lives, but sometimes the basics like food rations have to come first

Anwari resides beside the canal-sewage in Narakeldanga with her family consisting of four members. Her husband died some years back and she had to support their family single-handedly through rag picking. She lives under extreme poverty. She earns around Rs 100 (less than 2 US$) daily. She works 8 to 10 hours daily. Age is catching up and she is finding it very difficult to continue with her work. She is malnourished and needs proper food as she has to go empty on many days when there is no sufficient income. She has 5 family members.  With this monthly ration she can sleep with full stomach and would not have to starve.

Afroza’s husband was a drug addict and prone to domestic violence. Afroz would often fight with her husband over trivial matters. Her children were also not attending school. Her husband later abandoned the family. Afroz has set up a small grocers shop and earns between Rs 1500 to Rs 2000 per month. Her neighbour sometimes helps her with some food and money. Struggling to stay alive with limited means, this ration support means a lot to Afroza and her family. This emergency food support is a ray of light in their darkness.

Nazma is very weak due to lack of nutrition. Her husband does not care for the family and spends his income on liquor. They have three children who do not get sufficient food. All are malnourished. Nazma is severely malnourished and they are 5 family members.

Moijan is married to a drunkard who very often abuses her both physically and verbally and does not give any money for the upkeep of the family. The burden of looking after the family has fallen on Moijan shoulders and she has been struggling since then. She has 6 members in the family.  Since her husband is good for nothing, she has taken charge of her household. This ration will enable the family to survive as they are now going through a very tough time.

Sonali lives with her daughter and mother in a small house measuring about 70 sq.ft small tiny room. She works as a maid servant and earns Rs.1500 in a month.  Her husband married with other women and has moved away and deserted the family.

He doesn’t give money to run the family as a result the family is struggling to make ends meet. Sometimes, Sonali brings food donated by neighbours or relatives to feed the family but this are not regular hence she cannot depend on it. She really needs regular ration support to sustain the family.

Parveen, aged 28, is a widow and has to take care of her large family all by herself. With five hungry children to feed with limited income. Her children are all victims of malnourishment. Parveen needs all the help available. She is a rag picker. Her husband was an alcoholic and a drug addict who passed away more than 6 months ago.  

Salma lives with her family of six members. She along with her husband are involved in rag picking but lately both have health issues hence they cannot work long hours. This has had an adverse effect on their family finances. Now they are finding it very difficult to meet ends. She lives in Tangra along the canal side. This ration will be a great help to this family as they will not have to stave now. Thanks to this project.

Salma
Salma
Anwar
Anwar
Afroza
Afroza
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Thank you for your generosity
Thank you for your generosity

At Tiljala SHED we are committed to empowering Kolkata’s poorest and most vulnerable people to help themselves. We provide educational support and sponsorship to 600 children and microloans to 430 vulnerable women. We see the impact in the educational attainment of children who are first generation learners, ambitious for a better life than that endured by their parents. Women, formerly rag pickers, have transformed their family fortunes by setting up small businesses.  But for some, their circumstances are so dire that they need a helping hand before they can begin to lift themselves out of the cycle of despair.

Shaheen is a mother of 4, a widow at 38 years old and suffering from a heart condition.  She lives beside the railway tracks and makes paper bags out of old newspapers to support her family. The children help her but they all regularly go to bed hungry as she only makes about Rs1200 ($17 or £13) a month.

Hunger means that the whole family has low energy which makes it all the more difficult to work.  To help Shaheen’s family get back on its feet, your generous donations have supplied her with sufficient food rations to ensure she and the children do not have to go hungry.  Once the children are able to progress in school and Shaheen’s medical condition is stabilised we can then consider providing her with a small loan to help her start a more profitable business. See our Livelihood Project here

This month Shaheen and 10 other vulnerable families received essential food rations from this project.

Thank you, as ever, for your generous donations. You are providing desperately needed relief for families who have reached rock bottom.

Widow Parveen (27) and her hungry children
Widow Parveen (27) and her hungry children
Shaheen (right) receives her food rations
Shaheen (right) receives her food rations
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Parveen
Parveen

Parveen is 25 years old.  She has five children and was recently widowed.  She lives in a shack beside the railway tracks close to Park Circus Station in Central Kolkata.

Parveen supports her family by rag picking.  She goes out into central Kolkata between10:30 pm and 5:30 am and scours the streets and bins for any dry solid waste (cardboard, paper, plastics and metal) that she can sell on to a dealer.  Typically she earns 200 rupees ($3) a day (and often less).   Since her husband died she has been unable to pay rent on her shelter and has fallen 3 months in arrears. The family risks being turned out onto the street.  Her oldest child, Simran, ought to be in school, but Parveen needs her at home to help with the smaller children and look after them whilst she is out collecting waste.

Parveen is in crisis: she doesn't know where to turn.  But thanks to you and this project, we can help get Parveen and her children back on their feet.  Your generous donations mean that we can provide Parveen with a weekly food parcel. This will include all dry rations - rice, flour, dal, salt, sugar - as well as fruit and vegetables, eggs and milk.  With enough food to feed the family, she won't have to go out rag picking at night. Simran will return to school and the whole family will have a much needed health check.

Once things have settled, we will start to work with Parveen to prepare her to take up vocational training and to set up a small business of her own under our very successful Livelihood Programme.  Over the last 3 years nearly 400 former rag pickers have turned their lives around by taking a small microloan to start a small business.  Read about the programme here. 

So please consider a special donation today.  I was with Parveen just last week and her situation is critical.  But hers is not the only needy family. We desperately need funds to help get very vulnerable families through difficult times.  

Thank you as ever for your generosity

Last week with all 5 children
Last week with all 5 children

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Organization Information

Tiljala Society for Humans and Educational Development

Location: Kolkata - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @TiljalaSHED
Project Leader:
Jane Manson
Kolkata, 700017, India
$17,798 raised of $40,000 goal
 
217 donations
$22,202 to go
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