Ongoing pandemic has left the marginalised section of rural communities of Thar desert at a point of despairing depravity. Over three months of lockdown have brought in untold hardships; scarcity of ration, limited or non-existent income opportunities and even the basic health-hygiene requirements of thousands of children, adolescent girls and women are hard to come by. Urmul Semaant Samiti and Plan India have taken up the challenge to provide an effective gender-sensitive humanitarian response with a distinct focus on health and hygiene solutions. Through a continuous awareness programme on safe physical distancing and sanitization practices, Urmul has reached out to 83,013 individuals in its awareness drive. Not only this Urmul Seemant Samiti has provided 600 daily wagers, marginalised families with dry ration as well proactively distributing more than 2000 sanitary napkins to young girls and women. Along with this 3500 sanitation kits were distributed to larger community members, 23 ANMs got PPE Kits and about 212 hygiene kits were distributed to AWWs, AWHs, ASHAs and volunteers. Pandemic has hardened the resolve for all the Urmul subsidiaries to reach out and help the communities which, in desperate times like this really need some help and motivation.
To keep the fight alive and running, we often revisit the experiences with our field teams which strives us to support the rural community and ensure better lives for every child and households.
One such incident took place in the quarantine centre in Kolasar when amongst the 43 people there was a young girl of 12 years. At first, she seemed perplexed and disturbed, when we didn’t get an answer from her. One of our team members went up to the girl’s mother, we found out that the girl just had one pair of clothes and was unable to take a bath. It was very sad to realize that children are one of the majorly impacted groups by the pandemic COVID-19, leaving them helpless in front of the problems.
Soon we started distributing new clothes, made available for the young ones. One of our team members went up to the girl with a pair of clothes. We were surprised to see someone who stood still for days due to the current situation, finally ran to the bathroom.
On receiving the clothes, the first thing she did was to get a good bath. When she came back her face was lit up and there was clear sparkling happiness on it. We felt that the small efforts could bring smiles to the faces.”
It is true that COVID-19 has put a barrier on the expression and independence of children. However, we can remove that barrier by putting a little effort in the right direction and bring smiles on the faces of children.