Around the world, the most vulnerable households – those without essential economic resources or social support – are at the greatest risk of both the immediate effects and the long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. In one south Indian community, Priyam Global is uniquely positioned to support families who need it.
For five years, our programs have been embedded within the only special education school that serves impoverished families in that area. Our response to the pandemic in the last few months has been a beautiful pairing of our external resources (funding) and the expertise of the school staff, some of whom are also Priyam staff. Our staff have shown themselves to be wizards in coordinating the logistics of a pandemic relief effort during a lockdown.
At Priyam, we usually focus on cultivating the income-earning potential of mothers who are raising children with disabilities. We equip them to join the local job market, build a social network of support, and reclaim their lives from poverty.
However, India has been under an intense lockdown for the past two months. Most of our families have lost their livelihoods; fathers are not able to go to their daily wage jobs, and mothers are not able to make or sell the items that they learned at Priyam Global. With all of our usual programs on pause, the Priyam Global team has shifted roles from offering psychosocial support for mothers to providing a frontline response for their entire families.
On April 20, we distributed food to each family, enough to last for two weeks. Care kits included oil, lentils, spices, sugar, rice, and other basic food items. Each family also received a direct cash transfer of almost $100, which is the equivalent of one month of income for many families. The cash was used to pay rent, electricity, and other food items, like fresh vegetables and milk.
On May 28, as the lockdown continued with no end in sight, we distributed the same care kits and repeated cash transfer, but this time also provided face masks, hand sanitizer, and sterile gloves. In May, we also paid for the medical expenses of one of the families, whose young boy with autism was briefly admitted to the hospital.
We will continue to respond to the emerging needs of our families as the situation evolves. In particular, we are committed to ensuring that our families do not go hungry or lose their homes.
We would not be able to do this without our supporters. Thank you for being a part of Priyam and for your donations now and over the years. With all that is happening right now, it can be easy to feel powerless. But sometimes responding is as simple as sharing what we have when others have less, keeping our eyes and our hearts open, and being willing to give. And that's you. Thank you!
Please consider giving a recurring monthly donation for the next few months to support our pandemic response in Chennai, India. Recurring donations can be adjusted or canceled at any time.
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