The pandemic in its second wave has hit us much worse and much closer to home for everyone. The difference is that for families from NT-DNT, ST, SC communities, everything can get wiped out if there is a single case in the family, even 15 days of no work. Anubhuti has re-started relief work in this even darker phase than last year, but we see hope and derive strength from communities we work with.

Read about the highly deprived NT-DNT communities we are reaching since last year here, media coverage of last year’s relief efforts here and last year’s detailed reach here.

Week 1: April 15 to 21

  • Phone calls and one-on-one meetings following all safety protocol at Community Centres in Kolegaon, Dombivali and Rahtoli, Badlapur to understand situation
  • Online group counselling for youth on ‘COVID and Mental Health’. Youth shared about extreme distress, confusion, fear, dread – of impending starvation, the indignity of having to ask for help again and again, if anyone in the family gets the infection how can they possibly pay the bill. Shared about guilt and helplessness as young persons, yet they can do nothing as their parents slip into gloom and rage. Some families already have positive cases, leading to lot of fear, and even shame with the urge to hide the fact.

This kind of mental helplessness has very less Mental Health solutions. We can only respond trying to provide answers to their fundamental questions – financial, medical, food, shelter..

Week 2: April 22 to 28

  • Ration Kits distribution started with efforts to first reach women-headed households, with members with disability, survivors of violence, with positive cases, the poorest.
  • Reached 60 families in Dombivli and Badlapur in Thane District, of NT-DNT, SC communities.

“The quantity & quality of the ration packet is beyond expectations..it has ensured one less thing to worry about. Otherwise we are just crumbling under the weight of questions of survival..”

A youth in Kolegaon, Dombivali
  • Ration distribution to 44 more NT families in Kalwa.
  • Continuing medical support, handling cases of DV, Child rights and extreme mental health distress along with counseling and COVID19 awareness with NT-DNT, ST, SC families as they face a wall of questions – of food, rent, health, education, jobs, security.

Week 3: April 29 to May 5

“I am 5 months pregnant, I am worried how to keep up my health in this financial crisis. That too in this pandemic when I know I should take care of my nutrition, but how? Right now, we are struggling for two basic meals a day.”

A pregnant woman we reached with a Ration Kit
  • Continued Ration Distribution with another 40 NT families in the interiors of Bhiwandi.
  • Online COVID awareness discussions with rural and urban poor youth, NT-DNT leaders and community members on what to be aware of in this pandemic. They had lot of questions ranging from affordable nutrition, oxygen-rich food, what to do if a family member tests positive, vaccinations and many more. It was encouraging to see that these ground communities, despite the bleak times, are motivating themselves and each other to get through and survive.
  • Continued ration distribution with 40 more NT-DNT families in Kalyan and Dombivali.
  • Online Community Counselling was continued. Dr, Bharati Lele, a general physician with over 35 years experience with rural populations, addressed various questions on nutrition, vaccination, care and precautions for women with various vulnerabilities – such as during pregnancy, tested positive or recovering from COVID, breastfeeding, new mothers, with any kind of disability.

Week 4: May 6 to 12

  • Community Counselling online and on ground continued with group counselling in small groups. This was preceded by face-to-face or on phone research about how community members are being impacted – these gave us an idea of the doubts and questions troubling people.
  • Ration Kits distribution continued with NT-DNT families in Badlapur.
  • Vaccination awareness along with online registrations were started in Kolegaon and Rahtoli. NT-DNT community leaders who were part of online counselling started carrying out awareness and making lists of their people who were ready to take the vaccine. This is a challenge since there are a lot misgivings, we are working hard to create awareness.

Anubhuti is deeply committed to mental dignity of every person, the Kits are created with lot of effort on nutritional value of items, needs of different age groups, cultural preferences, quality and of course quantity.

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