OUR RESPONSE TO COVID-19
The novel corona virus disease (Covid-19) that has been ravaging the world has thrown normal life out of gear for millions of people in India too with mounting number of infections and casualties. National lock down was clamped on 24 March in a bid to protect the country and the citizens from the virulent virus. The national lock-down helped significantly to containing the spread of the virus and preventing the dreadful community spread. However, the lockdown turned out to be the beginning of the misery for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable communities, including workers of the unorganized sector especially the tribal poor communities here at Kawant, Gujarat, whose lives were upended by the sudden lockdown. Most of them were depending & surviving by working at the Diamond factories, small companies and mostly working as daily wage workers at the construction sites at the nearby cities and towns. With the sudden lockdown, thousands of tribal had to return back to their homes where they do not have enough source of income as most of them are in big debts and are landless too. The families that have their lands do not have enough money to buy seeds or spend money for other farming related expense. Adding to this, their villages are at the remotest places, where the basic help do not reach as there are no facilities of transports etc. The elderly, sick, orphans, handicapped etc. had bitter time to survive. The tribal’s were not having enough of information regarding the Covid help as they were illiterate and do not have much access to media too.
In the wake of the wave of misery that is lashing the tribal poor, Missionary Dominican Sisters of The Rosary, [ Nicol Bhavan, Community, Kawant, Gujarat] has been rallying, as a collective, to provide succor to the hundreds of poor tribal & migrants living at the villages of Kawant. It was during these NEW POVERTY LIKE SITUATIONS, the sisters came at the rescue of these vulnerable poor tribal with the help of few staff members, volunteers etc. they reached out to the tribal in the following ways:
- FOOD SUPPORT: The sisters along with the staff and volunteers visited the villages, identified the poorest families & individuals with the help of the local leaders & distributed the dry ration kit, provided moral support by lending listening ears etc. the sisters helped the needy in two phases:
- At the initial stage of Covid-19 pandemic- March 2020: More than 300 hundred families were given dry ration kit.
- At the middle stage: November 2020: 100 families – widows, orphan children, handicapped, old and sick people were given the dry ration kit amounting to 675/-rupees each.
- AWARENESS GENERATION ON THE PROTECTION AND PREVENTION:FROM COVID-19: The project in charge sister along with the staff visited all the 22 villages and the neighboring villages and gave information about the pandemic and made the people aware about the preventions and protection measures of Covid-19. Masks were distributed to them. The demonstration on the use of Mask, sanitizer etc. was done in each village.
- MORAL SUPPORT THROUGH HOME VISITS AND COUNCELLING: In the time like these, the people had been frustrated and had lost the hope of future. The sister in charge along with the staff visited the families and individuals and supported them by lending the listening ears to them and helping them to cope up with the reality.
- EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT: A large section of children and youth were lost in the midst of Corona Virus. They had no means to cope up with the reality especially with the online classes as they do not have mobiles or the television. Efforts were being made to organize the village children and help them to learn their lesson and keep them occupied with the extra curriculum activities.
- TAILORING CLASSES: Many young girls were left alone at home, as they were not able to go to school or attend their classes. There were cases of harassments at home. It is in these situations that we took risk of beginning the tailoring classes for the young girls and giving them space to talk out and study.
We continue to walk with the people and share their burden as move forward with courage and determination
to fight the present misery and bring HOPE to our people.
Sister Usha Macwan OP
Nicol Bhavan, Kawant, Gujarat