With the strength of our network, we started a fundraiser – first to donate ourselves, then inspire our commune, and finally reaching out to everyone.
The nationwide lockdown saw a huge number of migrants from economic belts making the heart wrenching journey back home. To an extent, that some of them could not make it safely. The urban poor dependent on daily wages were distraught. The rural families, were left hopeless in the crucial time of the year for agriculture. And there was the public health crisis due to the Covid-19 outbreak. What followed, will haunt our collective conscious and history will remember the pandemic for the humanitarian crisis as much as the healthcare emergency it has been.
But we also saw hope in there. The large number of citizens making donations to the various groups at the frontline trying to provide support; was inspiring. We had not seen a crisis of this magnitude, in our lifetimes. That also meant, it demanded our best versions to be out there …
For the past decade, our fellows lived and worked with the communities at the grassroots. They developed deep relationships and respect for them. You might have met one of us, somewhere. It is that same shared experience and values that brought us together. With the strength of our network, we started a fundraiser – first to donate ourselves, then inspire our commune, and finally reaching out to everyone.
When we started and along the way, we observed:
Ration from the government had reached, albeit not to all. About 5kg rice, 1kg daal, 1/2litre oil and masala pouches was the average constitution
Some communities, especially the ones with Jan Dhan accounts, received 500INR direct cash transfer from the government
Segregated efforts by samaritans, citizen groups, civil society and administration were commendable
Chakma migrants of north-east, who work in garment industry of Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu were defaulting on rents and landlords had begun running out of patience
In rural communities, complicated deliveries at home was putting the mother and child’s life at risk
In slums of Bombay, folks needed cash to recharge phones, use community toilets, buy hygiene products and so on
Minority groups like transgender people and persons with disability were doubly hit as they fell out of the various social security schemes
From all of this, we concluded that in times like these, it is unconditional cash transfers that ensure dignity of the people and give them the ability to arrange what they need – across contexts. On an average, a basic 2000 INR per family per month help them keep their nose above the water, along with other possible help from the administration.
The Covid Cashrelief campaign ran from 26th March to 30th September ’20 and raised 2,00,00,000 INR. Across 6,200 transactions, the donations reached over 40 different communities in need as unconditional cash transfers. You can read about the campaign here.
Chakma Migrants in Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu
How Are People From Indigenous Tribes Being Left Out
Providing Cash In Hand To Distressed Folks