There is a spike in cases of COVID-19 in India. Daily wage earners with marginal savings have temporarily lost their jobs and are unable to access food and essential items to sustain themselves. Evidence shows that adults aged 60 years and older or those with chronic medical conditions seem to be at highest risk of complications and fatality rates. The elderly in old-age homes or living by themselves without adequate support systems face acute challenges. NGOs have risen to the challenge by working round the clock to fight COVID-19 in India.
Reaching out to most vulnerable
NGO SEEDS in partnership with Government of India and state governments of Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttarakhand in India is reaching out to these vulnerable people. SEEDS is reaching out and supporting these invisible individuals – the elderly, children, and frontline health workers of the communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak in their time of need.
The humanitarian organisation specialising in building resilience among communities is actively working in close coordination with the administration at various levels in each region. A response appeal has been launched towards rapid de-escalation of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in India with focus on:
– Financial and essential services support to the daily wage earners
– Support to district administration for complementing and supplementing public health systems
– Supply of hygiene kits and food rations to marginalised families, old age homes and orphanages
– Support to Government for establishment of temporary quarantine facilities, where needed.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation will be aiding the Government’s efforts by providing food relief in various locations across the country. As the implementing partner of the Government’s flagship Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Programme, they continue providing wholesome meals to children. The foundation is also working with various agencies and organisations to implement other food relief efforts. They have begun providing cooked meals in Jaipur and Ajmer, Hyderabad, Pune, and Ahmedabad.
Akshaya Patra Foundation is arranging for food relief kits to be distributed to as many people as possible in Bengaluru and other locations. These kits will comprise of items like rice/flour, tur dal/mung dal, chana, sunflower oil, spices such as turmeric, jeera, and dhaniya powder, sambar masala/garam masala, and pickle. They will also contain vegetables with longer shelf-life, such as potatoes and pumpkins. Each of these food kits will be sufficient to prepare two meals a day for an adult for about 21 days.
Shelter and supplies
To help the underprivileged survive the nation-wide lockdown, Wishes and Blessings, a Delhi-based NGO, has launched a project to feed the homeless and daily wage labourers affected by lockdown. The organization has converted day care centres into shelter homes to ensure that the homeless have a safe space to stay till the lockdown is lifted. Hygiene supplies have been procured as well to safeguard the health of all.
Networks have also been established with vendors in the areas of dire need, and rations are being procured from them. Certified vans with curfew passes transport the supplies to shelter homes, where teams and volunteers cook and serve the food to all the beneficiaries. There are checks to ensure that the food is cooked under hygiene conditions. Currently, Wishes and Blessings is serving 2 meals a day to people across Delhi. The NGO is working in tandem with two other organizations – SPYM and Santosh.
Says Dr. Geetanjali Chopra, founder and spokesperson for Wishes and Blessings, “We appreciate the hard work being carried out by CM Arvind Kejriwal and the Delhi government. It is no mean task to feed the lakhs of these people who have no place to call their own. We aim to share the load with the government and other organizations working on the field.”
Sahayata Kosh by NGO FUEL
NGO Fuel has appealed to corporate leaders to jointly work together towards all scholarship beneficiaries of their programmes. Most of scholarship programmes are designed for underserved communities and the students would be belonging to communities of labourers / daily wagers. Investment of scholarship would deeply depend on how their families overcome the crisis due to Covid-19. Donations can be made to Sahayata Kosh on this link.
Families on the margins
Even as the government is stepping up in several ways, including providing income support, to help low-income families in the coming months, families living on the margins will require additional support to tide over these difficult times. Towards this, donation platform GiveIndia has partnered with non-profits to help families in need and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in India.
Under the mission, GiveIndia has launched two initiatives. While one will help daily wagers put food on the plate, the second, #IndiaAgainstCoronaVirus will provide hygiene kits to underprivileged families who do not have access to soaps, sanitisers, and masks. This initiative also aims to support people at the frontline in hospitals as well. In the three days since it launched the campaign, GiveIndia has raised over Rs 1.5 crores from over 6,000 donors.
It is working closely with trusted NGOs such as CRY, Helpage, Goonj, Bhumi, Oxfam, ActionAid, Team Everest, SPPD, Vidya Poshak, St Jude, Habitat for Humanity, and Sevalaya among other reputed not-for-profit organisations. Corporate partners, including Omidyar Network India, McKinsey, AU Small Finance Bank among many others, have also initiated employee giving campaigns. Most of the corporates will match the donations made by employees in response to COVID-19 in India.