The lockdown following COVID-19 has precipitated a massive humanitarian crisis in India. 67% of workers lost employment. 8 out of 10 workers in urban India and 6 out of 10 workers in rural India lost employment, according the findings of a study by Azim Premji University conducted in collaboration with 10 civil society organisations
What does it mean for children of these families? What does this hold for their futures? Will they be able to go back to school?
How can we help?
Meet 30-year-old Dulal Mondal, a Training and Monitoring Officer in Magic Bus’ programme in Jaynagar, a rural belt in West Bengal.
Dulal has been at the forefront of Magic Bus’ efforts to ascertain the number of vulnerable families in desperate need of food and essentials in Jaynagar. He says that ‘most of Jayanagar is reeling under financial distress. Having lost their jobs, most families are managing to survive on one meal a day.”
“I heard about joblessness from the very beginning of the lockdown. But I understood its implications when a friend of mine told me he had lost his job at the rice mill. He had no means of feeding his aging and sick parents because he had no money,” he says, adding, “It was the Bengali New Year and while we had enough food to eat my friend’s family was starving. That day, I went to his house and gave him half of the ration I had bought for my house.”
Dulal did not stop here. He approached members of the local Club to contribute and help those families who do not have anything to eat. He knew the process of identification, having done a similar exercise at Magic Bus. He identified 50 families who needed help. He raised money and support to help distribute ration and other essentials. Inspired by his efforts, other members of his community who have a stable source of income started donating large amounts to help. “I had begun thinking of helping 50 families with ration twice a month. With support from so many people pouring in, I can now distribute ration once every week. I want to also increase the radius of support, reach out to more families in need,” he says with excitement.