Action Village India
Solidarity Appeal

 

Across much of Europe, many people have experienced a public health crisis which has provoked many Governments to take forward urgent measures. Gradually these have affected our public health but they all have significant social and economic consequences. In the UK, as we write this, over a million people are new claimants for Universal Credit, Food Banks are in crisis, we have deep concerns for rough sleepers and there is a disturbing rise in violence against women in their homes. At the same time, we have widespread examples of community, humanity and solidarity all linked to a discovering and rediscovering of the deep importance of sharing and caring.

Across India, the contrasts could not be greater. By 8th April there had been 5,274 cases and 149 deaths due to Coronavirus. The social and economic effects of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared 21-day lockdown that began on 24th March are almost impossible to fully appreciate. As 94% of the roughly 400million women and men in the workforce are in the informal sector, this has meant an instant loss of income, livelihoods, ability to buy food and pay rent. It is estimated there have already been a minimum of 136million jobs lost. Within the first few days of the lockdown, there was a truly mass exodus from cities and large towns across India of at least 100million people. This is eight times the people displaced by Partition!  The consequences for women, men and children who were already social and economically vulnerable are enormous and disturbing.

There has been regular communication between Action Village India and partners across India. Here we share some of the challenges they are facing and the dramatic changes to their lives and planned work that has been forced upon them and their communities. All partners are already responding to the social and economic challenges provoked by the precipitous lockdown. Ekta Parishad shares the vital responses to the situations of some migrant workers and vital support packages for people returning from cities to their villages who are asked to self-isolate. No panic buying, no supermarket queues, no toilet paper wars just straightforwardly food for 14 days and a place to be safe. ASSEFA are responding to the special challenges for the 233 widows, destitute and deserted women in Kariyapatti and Natham areas whose ongoing support has been forced to stop.

In the midst of these challenges, partners are working to strengthen community, humanity and solidarity. They have shared requests for our support, our solidarity and we are simply sharing these requests with you.

We have launched a Solidarity Appeal.

We fully appreciate and respect that we are all facing numerous challenges at present.

The communities where partners have been working in, often for decades, are some of the poorest in India. Many are/were homes to migrant workers who left because of poverty who are now being forced to return. We are humbly asking you to share what you can with the women, men and children of the communities where partners are working.

 

Take care

With our deep thanks

Staff, trustees and volunteers of Action Village India

Donate here to our appeal

 
 
 
 
 
 
Please read the direct updates from Action Village India partners received over the last week.

ASSEFA, Tamil Nadu
The lockdown has already had a lot of implications for ASSEFA’s programmes.
Education: All ASSEFA run schools have been indefinitely closed till further instructions from the government and teachers have been asked to work from home.
Dairy programme: Although the milk processing factories are functioning as normal, sales have come down to around one-third and the factories are forced to raise loans to fill the gaps in capital.
Drinking-Water Project: This is functioning and hasn’t faced any restrictions
Converting into small finance Bank: these initiatives have come to a standstill.
Credit programme: As credit assistance has stopped due to the lockdown and the Reserve Bank of India has given a 3 months moratorium period, ASSEFA’s cash flow has faced constraints which led to discontinuing the assistance to women and farmers groups.
Social Security: ASSEFA recently introduced a scheme assisting 233 widows, destitute and deserted women with Rs. 500 (£6) each month on an experimental basis. The assistance provided came out of the interest earned by the SMBTs (federated body of women Self Help Groups) Concerned. As the credit operations of the SMBTs have been stopped, ASSEFA hasn’t been able to continue this service.

CRUSADE, Tamil Nadu, From Disability to Stability Project
The livelihood of poor people is badly affected due to the complete lockdown. However, the immediate response of both central and state government has been encouraging. CRUSADE has set up communication links to ensure that all the communities they work with are aware of the government response, so they know their entitlements. As you can imagine with any scheme, there are always people who fall through the gaps. CRUSADE is filling these gaps by distributing grains. CRUSADE has also offered to work with local Government and panchayats (village councils) to bridge the gap and provide simple medical equipment such as masks, gloves and sanitary products.
 
Ekta Parishah, Jai Jagat 2020
The sudden outbreak of Coronavirus has forced Ekta Parishad to suspend the Jai Jagat 2020 march for a while but brings forward the same message that the destructive development and economic model that the humankind is pursuing at the cost of nature is not sustainable and although the march isn’t moving physically, EP is continuing the Jai Jagat campaign in whatever way possible.
At the moment, Ekta Parishad with thousands of volunteers are setting up an ‘Immediate and Long Term’ response systems and coordination points in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Uttar  Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Kerala,  Tamil Nadu, Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Bengal and Maharashtra. Apart from these states, Ekta Parishad is also trying to collaborate with many grassroots organizations. The operations are divided into 3 levels of responses.
1. Production and Distribution of Khadi Masks (to the villagers)
2. Provide food to migrant labourers (hundreds of them going back to villages)
2. Relocation of Migrant Labourers (in a protected centre)

Please find a report of responses by Ekta Parishad here. 
CORONA COVID 19 RESPONSES BY Ekta Parishad - Report.pdf

NBJK, Jharkhand & Bihar, Girls’ Education & Community Action
All the schools, as well as coaching centres, have been closed since the end of March. All 6-9th classes were passed but the girls in the 10th class are still waiting for their exam results, which were done in February. The girls’ were given homework on their last day of school and tuition but as all the girls are from rural areas, and the villages are currently not letting anybody from outside in (including teachers), it has been very difficult to continue to provide homework to the girls. Regular updates are done by teachers weekly from students through phone and in case the lockdown will be extended, homework will be assigned to students through a phone call.
In terms of the community action project, the tailoring training has been stopped as well as the tree nursery. Teak seeds are currently being collected and will be sown after the lockdown. LSSK isn’t able to continue its activities as most of these are dependent on public gatherings. LPK’s community health centre was initially kept open, however, as the order was passed by the government to close the private clinics in rural areas, the centre had to close as only government-run health centres will operate for now in rural areas.

NBJK's eye hospital and school in Chauparan are currently functioning as a quarantine centre for migrant workers who have come back from cities in the country. NBJK has also provided government hospitals with gloves, masks, thermometers and gowns and they are providing food to people who are unable to access government support.  

RCDC, Orissa, Securing Livelihoods and Land Rights
In Odisha, it is the poor and marginalized who has been the worst hit. They earn by the day being either daily wage earners or daily trade in small produces including vegetables, fish, meat, and eggs. With the lockdown being strictly enforced these people are facing starvation being denied scope to earn. They desperately need help with daily use items. The populations are unaccustomed to such measures and need awareness about how to deal with it. Odisha has a large population, from both coastal and interior regions, who migrate to other cities and states for employment. This population is now in dire straits. Those who have returned face self-isolation and quarantine. Those who are stuck in other states need support and evacuation. RCDC intends to create awareness among populations, take care of the essential needs of poor and needy families and also facilitate and help the migrants address the issues they face.