The second wave of the deadly coronavirus is wreaking havoc in rural areas of India. The rural population is facing severe economic distress due to lockdowns and the pandemic. Free the Slaves and our partners in India are organizing several drives in affected rural parts of the country to ensure that people have adequate food to endure this crisis.
With support from a generous foundation, our partner MSEMVS will reach out to villages of eastern Uttar Pradesh and distribute food and hygiene kits to 1,000 vulnerable families from July to September 2021. The distribution will be carried out in more than 100 villages spread across Mirzapur, Varanasi, Bhadohi and Chandauli districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Apart from this direct support, another 500 families will be assisted to link them to government schemes so that they can systematically access government services.
Most of the families are modern slavery survivors who have been rescued as bonded laborers from brick kilns and suffered setbacks in their recovery because of the medical and economic emergency.
Marginalized families in Uttar Pradesh, like Shanti’s* (pictured above), have been especially hard-hit. COVID-19 restrictions and crop failure have diminished livelihood opportunities in their village. As the breadwinner and caretaker of the family, Shanti is responsible for the well-being of her ailing husband and four children. Her family engages in subsistence agriculture but struggles to make ends meet. Further, they are excluded from accessing government services due to their lack of official documentation.
Through this project, vulnerable families will be provided with lifesaving support such as food, hygiene kits, information about COVID-19 risks and precautions, and official documentation to access government services.
*A pseudonym to protect her identity