The second Covid wave hit rural India disproportionately, as compared to the first one last year. With their underdeveloped healthcare infrastructure, small towns and villages across the country were left reeling as the pandemic ripped through them. The data points to deep and scarring impact in these places. During the peak of the wave in May this year, the number of infections across rural districts was four times the number during the first wave peak in September 2020. While the percentage of total infections represented by these districts was at roughly the same level as in the first wave, this time around these districts accounted for a higher share of overall deaths. (Source: Indian Express; May 8, 2021 https://indianexpress.com/article/india/covid-second-wave-rural-india-coronavirus-cases-7306422/)
Beyond the statistics are the stories of loss, bereavement and financial distress in many families. A large number of them had their savings already depleted by Covid-related medical expenses. With the primary or sole earner having then succumbed to the illness, they also suddenly had no income source.
GiveIndia has launched a campaign to provide one-time cash transfers to families that have lost a primary breadwinner due to Covid. As a trusted NGO partner on the ground, we are helping get this much needed aid to affected families through our presence in many marginalized communities.
Our trainers are doing extensive outreach in these communities in order to identify families that can use this aid. They have shared details of the assistance with youth in our programs so that they can then spread the word in their localities. The process involves connecting with as many people and entities as possible in order to get names of bereaved families that may benefit from this aid while they figure out their long-term livelihood options.
One of the biggest challenges in the process is overcoming the reservations of the families concerned. Many are initially wary and unconvinced about the authenticity of this aid package. Our team then works to reassure them on this count. Once the family is comfortable with the idea, our team then supports them in compiling and submitting all the necessary documentation to GiveIndia. They then receive a verification call from GiveIndia and the money gets deposited in their bank accounts soon after.
Vanita and her three children in Wani were one such affected family. When Vanita’s husband Sunil developed Covid earlier this year, his monthly income of Rs 15000 was the family’s main income. When he subsequently died from related complications, the family had to try and figure out the way forward even while dealing with the trauma of his death. This is when they heard about the GiveIndia emergency fund through Kristina, the Head Held High trainer at Wani.
Kristina helped them fill out the required form and soon after, they received a verification call from GiveIndia. The money was credited to their account within a few days. Atul, Vanita eldest son, says that the GiveIndia aid helped them through a very difficult time in their lives.
Thanks to a timely campaign initiated by GiveIndia – supported by many generous donors and implemented by committed teams like ours on the ground — families that are struggling with both emotional loss and financial hardship, have some funds to help them stay afloat as they heal and recover.