How civil society is helping India recover, two years after lockdown

For two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down. While new cases and the death toll have fallen, India has yet to recover from the unprecedented disruption caused by the pandemic and the lockdown.

The country has reported more than 43 million Covid cases and around 5,17,000 deaths in the past two years. In the face of all this, civil society organizations have mobilized to make a difference and help the underserved. As a follow-up to this, Oxfam India reaffirms its commitment to help India recover by providing aid to communities in need with rations, life-saving equipment, strengthening the public health system and filling the food gap. learning among children in 16 states across the country.

Amitabh Behar, CEO of Oxfam India, said: As we enter the third year of the pandemic, Oxfam India reaffirms its commitment to continue providing relief and supporting civil society, communities, frontline workers and government efforts to help India recover. recover from the pandemic. Throughout the years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oxfam India has worked with respective state and district governments and reached out to various communities in need. These include transgender people, sex workers, miners, scavengers, cancer survivors, domestic violence survivors, weavers, fishermen, construction workers and people affected by floods and storms. cyclones. Food ration kits alone reached more than 6,000,000 people, and livelihoods interventions supported 81 women’s self-help groups. »

Even before the lockdown began in 2020, Oxfam India’s humanitarian team had begun planning for ‘Mission Sanjeevani’, one of India’s largest non-governmental responses to COVID-19, spread across 16 states.

Oxfam India provided life-saving medical and diagnostic equipment to 150 district hospitals, 172 primary health centers and 166 community health centers in 16 states. Seven oxygen plants have been set up and made operational across the country, the latest being in Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh.

Oxfam India reached out to over 64,993 ASHA workers in 10 states to build their capacity and provide essential equipment. This means the organization provided the heat gun with batteries, a pulse oximeter, 5 sets of nasal masks, 100 surgical masks, 2 sets of reusable gloves and 20 sets of disposable gloves to nearly 6% of ASHAs nationwide. .

Oxfam India has provided unconditional cash transfers to over 12,000 households amounting to over Rs 5.44 crore. Through 15 other significant projects, Oxfam India has helped over 1.5 million people, comprising mainly Dalits, Adivasis, minorities, women and girls in 9 states, 25 districts and around 300 villages.

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“Oxfam India worked with government and communities during the greatest crisis in independent India’s history. During these difficult times, our teams have helped strengthen government and civil society relief work and ensured that no one is left behind,” Behar said.

Reaching the most vulnerable in difficult times

State governments and trade unions in India have launched various programs and initiatives to help people during the pandemic. But many communities and underserved areas have been left to fend for themselves in the midst of a pandemic due to gaps in government efforts to provide relief. Oxfam India’s efforts have helped fill these gaps. This included providing relief materials to the migrant fishing community (Gujarat), transgender people (Kolkata), homeless people (Delhi), sugar cane workers (Maharashtra), tea garden workers (Assam), cyclone-affected families (Sunderbans in West Bengal and Odisha), artisans such as weavers (Assam) and dholak makers (UP), domestic workers (Delhi), Pak Hindu refugees (Delhi ), particularly vulnerable tribal groups (Chhattisgarh), cancer patients (Delhi), migrant workers (Bihar) and salaried workers.

“Members of the transgender community do not have an identity like the Aadhar card or the PAN card. Therefore, the loss of our family and friends is not recorded. Nothing was done for those who depended on sex work or begging. Our organization, Kolkata Rista, together with Oxfam India, has started providing relief materials like dry rations to members of the transgender community during the second wave of COVID-19,” said Dr. Santosh, Secretary and Executive Director of Kolkata Rista.

Behar said: “Oxfam has been part of India’s growth story since 1951. The organization has played a key role in helping the country recover from famines, earthquakes, cyclones and tsunamis. . Oxfam India continues to work towards building resilient livelihoods, access to education and health, and a gender-equitable society. We remain firmly committed to doing all we can to accelerate India’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. »

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