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Migrant workers and daily wage earners have been severely hit by the lockdown
Migrant workers and daily wage earners have been severely hit by the lockdown

How to help the most vulnerable during the covid-19 lockdown

Not-for-profit organisations and charities are putting together funds to help the most vulnerable communities during the lockdown. Lounge compiles a list of platforms where you can donate

The ongoing lockdown, in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, has affected the lives of some of the most vulnerable communities across the country, such as migrant labourers, waste pickers, single mothers, artisans and sex workers. It is to cushion the impact of the crisis on these sections, and to ensure their access to essentials, that not-for-profit organisations are sending out appeals for funds. To help you aid these initiatives and connect you with efforts on the ground, the Lounge team has put together a list of verified NGOs, charities and private institutions, which are working towards this cause. Each of these projects has also been vetted on the basis of whether the volunteers involved practice the necessary government, health and safety guidelines while disseminating the material.

Safa

The Hyderabad-based not-for-profit organisation works for the urban poor by introducing sustainable livelihoods through an area-based community model. This also includes establishing skill training centres for the youth. With covid-19 having adversely affected the migrant population, Safa has taken it upon itself to distribute essentials for daily wage earners and single mothers in Hyderabad, north Karnataka, Bengaluru and Chennai through its network of volunteers.

To donate: visit safaindia.org

Citizens for Justice and Peace

“When we think of daily-wage earners, not many think of sex workers. But their income too has dropped after the covid-19 lockdown," says Harish Iyer, founder of Jimme Foundation, which works at the intersection of gender and sexuality. "They face the challenge of both societal non-acceptance and financial burden." After the lockdown was announced, Iyer’s organization collaborated with Citizens for Justice and Peace, run by civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad, to provide a month’s food supplies for over 200 families of sex workers at Kamathipura. The two organizations are looking to raise 20 lakhs for marginalised communities, of which Rs6 lakh will be for sex worker families in Kamathipura.

To donate: visit cjp.org.in or contact Harish Iyer at +91 98331 00340

Parikrma Humanity Foundation

The foundation has been working extensively in the field of education and runs four schools and a junior college in Bengaluru. It reaches 1800 children from 99 slum communities and four orphanages in the city. Parikrma also gives two full meals a day at these schools, even during the summer vacations when classes are held daily. And now, when the city is in a lockdown, the foundation still hopes to reach its students and their families. It is trying to raise funds for provisions to supply food to them.

To donate: visit parikrmahumanityfoundation.org

Zomato Feeding India

The not-for-profit started the ‘Feed the Daily Wager’ project after the announcement of the 21-day lockdown to provide food support to families of daily wage earners across cities, who might have lost out on employment in this time of crisis. With the aim to raise 50 crore, the project is slowly inching towards the halfway mark, by having amassed more than 17 crore in donation. Each meal kit, procured with the funds and costing 500, should last a family of five for a week and contains a combination of basic staples such as wheat flour, rice and two kinds of pulses. The non-profit has partnered with other NGOs and social enterprises working on the ground such as the Centre for Education and Health Research Organisation in Delhi and Balancing Bits in Gurugram, while following proper social distancing guidelines.

To donate: feedingindia.org/donate

Kashtakari Panchayat

Among the frontlines of India’s battle against corona-virus are waste pickers, who ensure towns and cities are clean and garbage-free. But given the nature of their work, they are also among the communities most vulnerable to infections. Pune-based Kashtakari Panchayat has organised a fundraiser to support nearly 7,000 workers in Pune and the neighbouring Pimpri-Chinchwad. The funds will be used to provide safety kits, consisting of gloves, masks, soaps and sanitizers, and a month’s supply of essentials, like grains, pulses, oil, sugar and tea. “It was necessary because most workers supplement their income by selling scrap," says Lakshmi Narayan, trustee of Kashtakari Panchayat. “But these shops are shut in the ongoing lockdown. The salary from the government is also most likely going to be delayed, which has made their income highly uncertain." So far, the organization has raised Rs8.5 lakhs out of a target of Rs2.5 crore over the past few weeks.

To donate: visit kashtakaripanchayat.org or contact +91 91580 07062

Robin Hood Army

The zero-funds organization, which gets surplus food from restaurants and communities to the less fortunate, is running a ‘Senior Patrol’ initiative under its Covid-19 plan. The initiative is aimed at the elderly, who are either living alone or away from their families and support network. You can fill in an online form, which will carry all the necessary contact details of the senior citizens and the essentials they need, in terms of food and medicine. You will get an update once these have been delivered by the local ‘Robins.

To donate: visit robinhoodarmy.com

Goonj

Besides providing immediate relief, the non-profit Goonj is also working towards long-term rehabilitation of daily wage earners, who are likely to be unemployed for an unforeseen period of time due to the pandemic. Under the programme Rahat, the volunteers aim to prepare kits with essentials such as dry rations and personal care products, and transport them to over a million people in areas with huge pockets of migrant labour. They will also utilise donations to address the impact on family income, healthcare, debt and education.

To donate: https://goonj.org/support-covid-19-affected

Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI)

Amidst the pandemic, several designers have shut operations to ensure the safety of their employees and artisans. They have also ensured that staff continues to get paid during the lockdown. However, it is the small enterprises and young designers who are bearing the brunt of this pandemic, with business having taken a hit. It is to help them that the FDCI, with its 400 members, has formed a covid-19 Support Fund (CSF). “This has been done so that these enterprises can in turn help their artisans. A chain has to form so that each can look after its own staff," says FDCI chairman Sunil Sethi.

To donate: visit fdci.org or write to them at csf@fdci.org

Aman Biradri Trust and Karwan-e-Mohabbat

"If you are looking at images of overcrowded bus-stands, lakhs of people walking hundreds of kilometres to try to reach home... you will agree that the #lockdown has completely ruptured...and victimised those already on the margins," reads the appeal for support from the Aman Biradri trust and Karwan-e-Mohabbat team, spearheaded by activist Harsh Mandar. The collective has been on the streets over the last week and documented the stories of workers, who have been forced to leave the big cities on foot. They have opened up an online donation platform, which will allow them to get food to those who need it the most.

To donate: send a message to @karwanemohabbat on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Or write to them at office@amanbiradri.org

Seeds India

The not-for-profit organisation is reaching out to vulnerable communities in the states of Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttarakhand. In these regions, besides supporting the elderly and children, Seeds India is taking some burden off frontline health workers by supplementing public health systems, supplying hygiene kits and supporting the establishment of temporary quarantine facilities.

To donate: visit seedsindia.org/covid19/

(Compiled by Avantika Bhuyan, Shrabonti Bagchi, Asmita Bakshi, Omkar Khandekar, Nitin Sreedhar and Subham Ladha.)

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