Looking for hope in these dark times of Corona Pandemicby Team CORO April 8 2020, 1:57 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 57 secs
As India witnessed a surge in corona virus positive cases, a complete lockdown for 21 days was declared from 24th March in the country, since physical distancing is the only way of breaking the Covid-19 infection cycle. The lockdown restricts people from stepping out of their homes. All transport services – road, air and rail were suspended with exceptions for transportation of essential goods, fire, police and emergency services.
In these dark times of a pandemic, we at CORO are doing our best to relieve the lives of those who are affected the most by this lockdown - the daily wage earners. These are the people who help us in normal times but today are struggling today to feed themselves. CORO's long experience of working with marginalised communities and its deep network with NGOs across Maharashtra put it in a unique position to reach out to the poor people in need.
CORO, established in 1989, has been working with the marginalized communities in Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Most of the people we are working with are daily wagers, farm labourers, housemaids, single women and a large number of casual labourers. Hence we started the relief work for these communities in our work area i.e. Mumbai, Konkan, Western Maharashtra, Marathwada, North Maharashtra and Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra and a few districts like Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaipur of Rajasthan.
CORO’s team with the help of leaders from our programmes, support groups in villages, members from local self-government (gram-panchayat) and local partner organizations identified the most needy people from the villages/communities from our work areas and prepared their lists with the required details.
The people were identified based on the following criteria:
We have been working with most marginalised communities such as scheduled castes, scheduled tribe, Nomadic tribe, other backward classes, Muslims etc. These communities are already socially backward and the economic status of most of the members from these communities are very low due to their social status. Even among these communities, majority of our intervention is focused with vulnerable groups such as women, children, differently abled, elder, transgender etc. For example, we have selected many widow and deserted women from Marathwada and people from Katkari tribe from Konkan which is already declared one of the primitive and most vulnerable tribes of India.
Most of our people are involved in occupations such as daily wage labour (Agriculture/Construction/Non agriculture), domestic helpers, auto-taxi drivers, self-employed (sewing/petty shop owners/Hawkers), working on petrol pumps-hotels-cloth stores, beggars, unemployed etc. These people are already affected due to lockdown. Most of them used to get daily wages who are not able to get during lockdown. Also those who were getting monthly salaries, they will not get any amount for the days they are away from their jobs due to lockdown. Most of these people do not have any social security such as provident funds, insurance, Mediclaim and other benefits. Many people are landless or they do not possess any financial resources to sustain them.
We work in areas like Marathwada, Maan district of Satara, Forest areas of Vidarbha, Slums of Mumbai where lack of access to basic amenities, migration, drought and other natural calamities are common. These situations have made our communities more vulnerable.
Even from the above situation, we have selected families with more vulnerability such as families with no or minimal land, women headed families, families who do not stock any kind of food or grains due to not having agricultural lands. We have prioritised such families who will starve if not supported.
We primarily decided to support the people with groceries kits and other essentials. We communicated our distributed plans with the concerned officials from the system and sought their permission for food distribution. We tied up with the local grocery stores/ shopkeepers at village and block levels and requested to pack and transport the grocery kits to the identified people in the villages against the money transferred to their accounts. In this venture CORO’s local team and volunteers from the villages are playing a big role here.
The distribution of grocery kits started on 2nd of April 2010 and till date we have supported 3453 families from 243 villages in Maharashtra and 571 families from 36 villages from 3 districts of Rajasthan. The relief work is going on vigorously on a daily basis with more and more families being helped at this crucial hour.
CORO has always reached out to the community people during any natural or human calamities. Be it Mumbai riots in 1993 or floods due to rains in 2005 and 2019. The experience to handle such crisis situations and the network of our people are once again helping us to tackle the widespread pandemic.