The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has engulfed many parts of India leading to lakhs of new infections. Many people have died and many more are struggling with challenges of food security and healthcare. In view of the situation, Adivasi Lives Matter (ALM), had launched a fundraiser to reach out to the most marginalized Adivasi populations.
The fundraiser has a three-pronged approach to aiding Adivasi families during the current crisis. First, it wishes to provide 15-day ration kits to 6,000 families which are women-led, families of people with disabilities, and families of the elderly. Second, it seeks to provide masks and post-vaccination medicine to 15,000 people, and Third, it attempts to raise awareness about the benefits of the vaccine among 75,000 people through information material in tribal languages.
These relief plans are to be implemented in Tripura, Tamil Nadu, and Chhattisgarh where ALM has been working actively for the past two years. We have established capacity building networks with the local people and NGOs who have helped us take our vision forward.
The work of ration distribution has already begun in Tripura and Tamil Nadu.
In Tripura, the ration distribution started on May 20 and continued till May 26. The ration kits were procured with the support of ResponseNet and the physical distribution was done by a local Tripuri NGO called Youth For Integration (YFI) Trust. Till date 1090 kits have been distributed in all eight districts. Some of the villages where the distribution has been done are Shombhu Charan Para, Gabordi, Ganesh Chowdhury Para, Sadhaiham Para, Korbook, and Tuidu among others. The distribution catered to the needs of tribes such as Molsom, Bongcher, Jamatia, Debbarma, Tripura, Reang, and Kaipeng. In all these villages, YFIT got in touch with the Panchayat offices and the local youth offices to gather details of families that require urgent support. Based on the list provided by the villages, the distribution was made.
Each ration kit consists of 10 kg rice, 1 litre oil, 2 kg dal, 3kg potatoes, 500 gm sugar, 200 gm red chilli powder, 2 kg salt, and 3 soaps. A single kit is given to a family of 4-5 persons on average.
Bibhuti Debbarma from YFIT says that whereas people were welcoming of the kits, there are many more families that require urgent aid. “We have a list of 2000 additional families who are in dire need of help,” he said. Bibhuti added that other than food crisis, there is an urgent need to spread awareness about the benefits of vaccination among the Adivasis of Tripura as many people are avoiding the jab. To that end, Adivasi Lives Matter has already begun making public service videos in local languages such as Kokborok, Reang, and Molsom to promote wide vaccinations. They will be published very soon.
In Tamil Nadu, ALM in association with ACCORD has distributed 21 kits to families of Kozhikolly, and Puliyamvayal. There is a standing request for 15 kits for Bichanakolly, Odakolli, and Kanjikolli. The kits were procured with the support of Oracle. ACCORD and Oracle are in the process of verifying the families that require urgent help. Kits will be provided soon.
Note: Adivasi Lives Matter shall be presenting regular updates of our relief work during the pandemic.