In March 2020, a national lockdown was imposed in India in response to COVID-19. The lockdown left migrant labourers in the cities without their jobs and their accommodation overnight. Thousands of desperate people tried to go back to their villages but mass transportation was shut down to restrict the movement of people as part of the preventive measures. Many who tried to walk the long distances home collapsed along the way; some lost their lives. For the people who made it back to their villages, the future remains uncertain. They have lost their livelihood with no way to support themselves and those who depend on them. This is the new reality faced by both migrant workers and daily wage earners.
In response to this unfolding crisis, the Indian Social Institute (ISI), an apostolate of the Jesuit Conference of South Asia (JCSA), launched a joint COVID-19 Relief and Response initiative known as the #V4 Migrants Campaign. This project covers eight states in India and focuses on supporting migrant workers, daily wage earners and other marginalized people impacted by the pandemic.
Canadian Jesuits International supports ISI as they help marginalized people meet their needs and find opportunities for the future. For migrant workers returning to their home provinces, ISI helps them reach their villages safely. To those choosing to remain in cities, ISI offers transition help. The help includes food, health care, safe shelter, transportation costs, accompaniment and psycho-social support.
The COVID-19 Relief and Response project aims to provide the basic necessities to 6,000 households: migrant workers, landless and temporary labourers, women who are the sole wage earners of their family units, daily wage earners, the elderly and the homeless. The project also provides training for 600 local community volunteers in the eight states so they can become para-health workers. There has also been an advocacy campaign, highlighting the problems and issues faced by migrants.
Coordinator: Fr Siji Chacko SJ
Jesuit Resource and Response Hub-JRH
Website: Jesuit Conference of South Asia
Please support the COVID-19 Relief and Response of the Indian Social Institute by making a donation: