As the country went into lockdown on March 24 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all economic activities came to a standstill and this in turn has had a direct impact on the livelihood and food security of millions of people across India. Unfortunately, social distancing is a crucial intervention today and this economic impact is likely to continue in the coming months. The poor and other vulnerable members of our society are amongst the hardest hit in these situations.
One of the first things that affected the aforementioned social group and their families during this crisis was the lack of access to and availability of food. Adding to this turmoil was the lack of livelihood opportunities, thus affecting the financial capacity of these families to procure food.
As part of empowering the people and their communities, Humana People to People India’s Community Development Projects, implemented in support from private and public companies, believe in the concept of ‘Adopt a Village’ and providing holistic development in the operational areas. During this crisis, HPPI has started initiatives to help the poor and vulnerable communities receive essentials commodities and food across various projects being implemented across the nation.
In HPPI’s Kadam+ Project in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, the project staff and a team of international volunteers have come together to raise funds to secure food for 600 families of the Kadam students. The team identified 1,704 students from 31 primary schools who belonged to the marginalised segment of the society. Due to the current confinement, the families of these students do not have any active income. Additionally, with the schools being closed, the students are also not receiving their free midday meal.
Similarly, in 2-3 villages near Noor-Nagar in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, around 50 families were provided with food packages containing 6 kgs of rice, 2 kgs of pulses, 1.5 kg potatoes, 1 kg onions, 0.5-litre cooking oil and essentials such as soaps, toothpaste and a set of clothes.
With support from our partner, Canon India Private Limited, 1,500 families across four locations – Masheswari, Haryana; Sologohliya, West Bengal; Karanjoti, Maharashtra and Annedodi, Karnataka – who were in dire need of groceries, were provided with 14 kg of ration to each family.
In Chhattisgarh, 40-days’ worth of ration was distributed among school children in Surajpur under the midday meal scheme in the presence of the government school principal, the BRC (Block Resource Centre) and the midday food group of the school. Children maintained a distance of one metre and teachers sanitised each child’s hands before and after the packages were handed to them. All the other government directives are regularly adhered to by the field staff during operations.
In Raipur and Gariyaband districts, Kadam team distributed rice and pulses to the parents of school children from 12 schools and also shared information and instructions about the Coronavirus.
Under the Tejaswini Project, implemented in Jharkhand, Cluster Coordinators in Chandwa Block of Latehar District, distributed grocery items to 35 poor families with the help of the village head. Similarly, in Kuru Block of Lohardaga District, 1,800 kg rice, 50 kg soya bean, 50 kg dal and seasonal vegetables were distributed among 200 poor families.
Food security is a major area of concern in India even without a global pandemic and this crisis has only made it harder for the poor to procure a square meal. HPPI’s project teams are working tirelessly in the field to reach out to more and more people and provide them with basic essentials such as food, medicines and toiletries. Our fight to combat COVID-19 is not nearly over and we need your support to continue our work. To know more about how you can help and contribute to HPPI’s COVID-19 initiatives, please visit https://www.humana-india.org/get-involved/donate