Warm greetings from Help for Children in Need Foundation (HCNF). Since our last update, the COVID 19 pandemic situation has changed significantly. The numbers which were earlier rising quickly have slowed down, particularly in the last 15 days as more daily recoveries have been reported than new infections.
India now has close to 3 million (30 lakhs) people testing positive for COVID-19. Close to 54000 have lost their lives. While the recovery numbers are good, hospitals are overflowing with active cases, especially in the most affected states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Tamil Nadu is one of the states with the highest number of COVID cases and therefore requires urgent attention. Through continued support from our donors, HCNF has not started work in Chennai as well to ensure food and hygiene kits for families and especially children who need help.
As the country continues to fight with this pandemic and many families struggle for basic food – young children and babies are at the highest risk. Nutrition at this stage in life is crucial especially for children in vulnerable, migrant communities who anyway face crucial challenges to a healthy childhood.
It’s over 80 days since the first COVID infection was detected in the country and while the initial days were calm – the situation escalated very soon. Some states where the earlier cases were detected, declared a lock down by 20th March and a Janata Curfew was called by the Prime Minister on the 22nd of March.
The initial 21 day lockdown in India has now been extended to 40 days and while most of us understand the need for this – it cannot be denied that it has made life even harder for a section of our population.
Migrant populations, daily wage earners and the homeless are stuck in large cities with no access to work and basic food.
Our on ground partner in Pune – CYDA (Centre for Youth Development and Activities) has been hard at work distributing food material packs and hygiene kits to families around Pune. So far they have distribute over 300 packs and there is demand for many more.
The families who have benefited are mainly daily wage labourers who have no other source of income in these trying times.
Our partner in the Trilokpuri area in Delhi have been busy identifying families in dire situations who need help the most. Supported by our corporate partner Hellmann Logistics 75 children and their families now have enough food and do not have to struggle for survival during these times.
Our country has a huge population of migrant labourers who come into the bigger cities, with their entire families to find work. Most of these families are dependent on daily wage labour to make ends meet and now with this complete lockdown –they have no access to any income and are in complete despair. Children are obviously the most vulnerable in a situation where parents are not even able to afford basic food.
This area is characterized by congested slums and acute poverty. The communities living here are mainly Muslims and Dalits and most of them work as daily wage labourers. In most households – both parents work to make ends meet and therefore children are often left to their own means through the day. Unsupervised – many of them are vulnerable to abuse, addictions or even trafficking. The concept of education is very rare with many children dropping out of school to supplement their meager family incomes as child labour. Proper health and hygiene facilities are lacking and most people are not even aware of what is rightfully due to them.