India has been put in lockdown to stop the pandemics, coronavirus. Sure, the steps taken by Indian Government is for the betterment of mankind, but we can’t deny the deteriorating conditions of the daily wage earners. Staying at home will not be feasible for them as this remains their only source of income. We are witnessing a historical calamity like never before.
Nearly 2 million people live in slums of New Delhi, the capital city of India. They are migrant unskilled laborers from nearby States. Every sixth urban Indian lives in slums unfit for human habitation, which is a big problem for the country and now the epidemic (Corona), which terrified all the nations, but the best weapons to protect her family - isolation and sanitation – which are unreachable luxuries in the Jhuggi (Small House) they call home.
The biggest challenge these slums are going through is how to combat the struggle of living among thousands of people and earn something to at least survive.
This is the story of Kanchan who has been attending our smash hunger center, where we provide one nutritious meal to children, with her three siblings. Normally , we are in position to provide healthy and nutritious food to our children. But on account of the decision taken by the Government of India, we had to shut down Smash Hunger Centre.
“All I’m thinking about right now is how to put food in my children’s stomachs,’’ said Ram Swaroop, Kanchan’s father. The day when lockdown was announced, he had 1,500 rupees (less than $25) in his pocket and zero in his bank account, and his rent was overdue. Somwati, Ram Swaroop’s wife and Kanchan’s mother is dealing with anxiety because it’s not only the threat of catching corona virus which she is worried about, but the police forces has been beating people up if they try to move out to do something for their living. Ram Swaroop being the only provider of their household is struggling and isn’t getting any aid. He is taking care of eight members in his family and need immediate help to keep his family functioning and alive, not just because of the virus, but from dying of hunger. Ram Swaroop stated that if nothing works out the entire family will join the migrant labour exodus and walk hundreds of miles.. Our teacher who interacted with Kanchan and her family has many such stories to share.
In Smash Hunger and Literacy Centre there are over 230 children from slums whose parents are migrant labour. Their survival is based on daily wages. After the lockdown was announced in Delhi from March 24, 2020 all these families are living in uncertainty and vulnerability.
We urge you to extend a helping hand by providing basic food items as emergency relief to these needy children’s families for next 15 days till the lockdown ends.