The initial periods of lockdown in India to protect the country from a widespread outbreak of COVID19 resulted in a near-complete halt of economic activity across the nation. The effects of this were keenly felt by India’s working migrant class and the poor, who faced unemployment and hunger.
The NGT team acted quickly to serve those going hungry and in need of basic amenities immediately around us. By setting up Hands Of Love, a special initiative for this purpose, we raised funds to procure essential groceries that we distributed to those vulnerable to hunger across Delhi.
Through this effort we helped provide 112 Relief Ration Kits to 99 families in desperate need. Each kit consisted of one month's ration of rice, wheat, two kinds of dal, cooking oil, sugar, salt, washing powder and dish-wash bar, tea leaf powder, toothpaste, soap, onions, potatoes, garlic, ginger and cloth masks. Each package weighed over 25 kg.
Hands of Love focused on those most vulnerable, such as single mothers without income and families with disabled children. The majority of those whom we gave were daily wagers and migrants.
Part of our response also included helping people avail of a variety of schemes launched by the government in collective efforts with civil society, such as e-coupon schemes for a certain quantum of rations. Knowing the government had set up wet kitchens at various collections points across Delhi, we partnered with the District Administration, South Delhi by providing them with rice, dal and oil equivalent of a meal for 50 people for 60 days. We also provided them with 248 cloth masks voluntarily sewn by women from Atulya Home, to be further distributed in the communities they worked with.
We were further able to assist 200 more people by partnering with the Indian Gorkha Federation and Inspire, who had arranged transportation for 600 Nepali migrants returning to Darjeeling and Kalimpong Hills, Siliguri, Mirik and Doors (Bhutan border). We helped them provide water and dry food packets to sustain them during their long travel back home.
We are thankful to all who came together at this time and supported us in making Hands Of Love possible. In the words of Helen Keller, "Alone, we can do so little; together, we can so much."