COVID-19  India Project #46195

COVID Relief for Tamil Nadu Families

by VOICE Trust
COVID Relief for Tamil Nadu Families
COVID Relief for Tamil Nadu Families
COVID Relief for Tamil Nadu Families
COVID Relief for Tamil Nadu Families
COVID Relief for Tamil Nadu Families
COVID Relief for Tamil Nadu Families
COVID Relief for Tamil Nadu Families
COVID Relief for Tamil Nadu Families
COVID Relief for Tamil Nadu Families
COVID Relief for Tamil Nadu Families
COVID Relief for Tamil Nadu Families
COVID Relief for Tamil Nadu Families

Covid-19 has caused significant distress around the globe. Apart from the evident physical symptoms in infected cases, it has caused serious damage to public mental health. India, like other countries, implemented a nationwide lockdown to contain and curb the transmission of the virus. The current research is an attempt to explore psychological distress among people residing in India during the lockdown. Most of the women were asked to complete a questionnaire with questions around symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and family affluence. The results indicated that people who do not have enough supplies to sustain the lockdown were most affected, and family affluence was found to be negatively correlated with stress, anxiety, and depression. And this is the time to relieve from the stress and grab the resources & opportunities to make it money to become self-sustain.

Our VOICE Trust organized a small event on the day of “International Rural Women’s Day on October 15th,2021” in the village of Maniyankurichi, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India, where around 100+ women actively participated. To make them stress-free, we have organized different fun activities, competitions, and traditional dance programs & motivating them by distributing prizes. And also, we had made an open discussion platform for the women community to have a brainstorming session on “Converting available resources & opportunities to business”.

As the result of a brainstorming session, we have got an idea of re-building a self-sustain village by establishing a traditional business (Small scale) of Cloth Washing, Mud Jewellery Design, House construction, Painting, Cloth weaving, Farming, Saloon, Carpentry, potteries, hairdressing, etc. through a modern system of SHG groups. And Our VOICE Trust is going to keep provide technical support to those women to establishing a small traditional business in their same village by effectively using the resources, Govt schemes, and opportunities to make them & their surroundings become self-sustained.

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Indrarani receiving her cash grant
Indrarani receiving her cash grant

In fact, it is giving money away!  VOICE Trust began distributing its first round of cash grants to struggling victims of the COVID lockdown by providing a small stipend to 20 female heads of households.  Although the laws governing donations received from outside of India, as GlobalGiving's are, meant we could only give these women 1000 rupees at a time, we were, frankly, stunned (and of course gratified) by how excited and thankful the women were to receive this help.

One of these women is Indrarani, a recently widowed mother of a 1 1/2-year-old daughter. When Indrarani lost her job due to the recent COVID lockdown in Tamil Nadu, the two of them moved in with  Indrarani's mother.  Although she is eager to work, there are no jobs available in the area.  So she now has no job, no money, and two lives depending on her. When we gave her the stipend, she was overcome emotionally, since it meant she could buy medicine for her mother and fresh vegetables for her daughter.

We will be giving these same women another 1000 rupees next week.  As a result of the outpouring of support we received in response to the current crisis, VOICE Trust can continue to provide Indrarani and the others with the help they need.  Each of their needs is different, but all of them find dignity and joy in being able to spend the money as they see fit.

Thank you for your support!

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Meet John, one of the farmers your donations helped to produce his own fertilizer from worms.

John’s five-acre farm in Magilambadi, Tamil Nadu, has been in his family for generations.  But his father always had to work as a teacher to supplement the farm income.

After his father’s death, John gave up his career in Mechanical Engineering to devote himself to turning the farm into a self-supporting enterprise.   Because of his passionate commitment to sustainable organic farming, customers would drive hours to buy his vegetables.

Like farmers throughout the region, John was hit hard by India’s lockdown last March, which dried up his markets.  Because he banks his own seeds, he was ready for the next planting, but he still needed to buy fertilizer, whose price has soared during the pandemic.  With the training, supplies, and equipment VOICE Trust provided, he was quickly able to create a rich vermicompost that produced an even healthier and more plentiful crop than the previous season.  

Every farmer’s situation is different, and each requires a unique solution.  A donation to support continuing COVID Recovery for Tamil Farmers will allow them to buy whatever they need most to make their farm thrive.

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making vermicompost
making vermicompost

Happily, infection rates have been plummeting in Tamil Nadu and many restrictions have eased, allowing some businesses to reopen.  But other parts of India have not been so lucky, leaving a patchwork of restrictions of varying severity that makes getting migrant labor or shipping to out-of-state wholesalers a daunting challenge.  Farmers who were plunged into a financial hole last spring, when they were unable to harvest or market much of their produce, are still struggling to save their farms.

We asked some of the farmers we have previously trained in sustainable farming practices what we could do to help, and they told us they needed a source of cheap but rich natural fertilizer.  As a result of COVID disruptions, fertilizer prices have skyrocketed, making purchase impossible for many cash-strapped farmers.  They wanted help creating their own vermiculture compost and azolla manure.

Vermicomposting uses earthworms to break down organic waste, producing even more prolific and nutrient-rich crops than traditional compost.  Manure made from azolla, also called mosquito fern, has been used for centuries as a biofertilizer.  It is another cheap and sustainable way of increasing soil fertility and crop production, and it can be created in as little as a week.  Because it multiplies rapidly, the resulting surplus can be used as livestock feed or sold at a good price, providing a quick source of supplemental income.

Thanks to your donations and a grant from GlobalGiving, we are able to provide 300 farmers in 15 villages containers for vermicomposting and tarpaulin sheets for preparing azolla manure. Because these farmers have already attended our workshops on creating organic fertilizer, they will be able to put these supplies to use right away, without further training.

We are proud to be able to continue helping Tamil Nadu recover economically without having to sacrifice our commitment to working with nature to find earth-friendly solutions to India's most pressing problems.  Since your donations are making this happen, you should feel happy too.

Thank you so much for your support.

the rich, healthy soil it produces
the rich, healthy soil it produces
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As the pandemic drags on, life in Tamil Nadu—and around the world—is settling into a new (albeit more difficult) normal.  Resource-poor communities face continuing challenges driven by both their preexisting living conditions and the unstable nature of their livelihoods.  Voice Trust, empowered by your support, is working hard to ensure that needy persons in Tamil Nadu are able to benefit from whatever help is available to them.

Although India has implemented policies aimed at relieving hardship, there are often knowledge and distribution barriers between aid and deserving recipients.  Back in March, the Indian government announced a COVID-19 aid package that included a financial benefit of Rs 1,000 that could be claimed by impoverished senior citizens, widows, and persons with disabilities.  However, many eligible beneficiaries were unaware of the available relief, or otherwise lacked the means to claim the benefit. 

Victoria, a Voice Trust field staff member who manages our projects to benefit the differently abled, stepped up to use her community advocacy skills in service of COVID-19 relief.  Victoria has worked diligently to ensure that eligible persons are made aware of the Rs 1,000 benefit, provided with explicit instructions on how to make a claim, and assisted as needed with navigating the claim process.  Victoria’s work on this front has been continuous since the relief package was announced, outside of a period during which she herself fell sick with coronavirus.  We are very glad to report that Victoria has recovered well, and is back to work speaking up on behalf of the most destitute.  Aided by Victoria’s heroic community advocacy efforts—supported by your generous donations—more than 9,700 qualified people have been able to access these desperately needed relief funds.

In these unprecedented times, we have been incredibly grateful for your extraordinary generosity, especially from corporate employees. As of this writing, we have received over 65 donations to our COVID-19 relief project, leaving us only $882 away from our goal.  These numbers are exceptionally strong for our organization.  While people around the world are facing uncertainty and additional hardship, your willingness to continue thinking of others is noble and especially impactful.  Your support heartens our staff, and enables tangible, sometimes life-saving relief.

With gratitude,

Janet Preethi

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Organization Information

VOICE Trust

Location: Tiruchirpalli, Tamil Nadu - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @VOICETrichy
Project Leader:
Janet G. Preethi
Tiruchirpalli, Tamil Nadu India
$11,483 raised of $15,000 goal
 
176 donations
$3,517 to go
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