The COVID 19 pandemic undoubtedly affected the lives of migrants in different parts of the country. The shutdown of factories and construction industries left the migrant labour force with no income or livelihood, and an uncertain future. Due to the lack of transportation during the lockdown, migrant families were stranded and the loss of income and jobs caused a shortage of food, increase in school dropouts, child marriage, child labour, begging etc.
Life was not much better for the people in the nomadic colony adjacent to JMIT Circle, Chitradurga. Around 60 families with more than 120 children live in this slum. They migrated from Uttar Pradesh a couple of years ago and speak a Bhojpuri dialect. The lockdown affected these families severely; even pushing them to the extent where children and women were begging on the highways and within the city. The children became involved in begging because of the lack of education facilities and to ensure their food security.
A multi-agency team from Chitradurga comprising Dr. Prabhakar, Chairperson- Child Welfare Committee; Mr. Nagabhushan, Vice Nodal Officer Education; Fr. Sonychen Mathew, Director, CHITHRA Don Bosco; Mr. Narenalli Arun Kumar, press executive committee member; Mr. Vishwasagar, Director, Damma NGO; Mr. Kumar, Coordinator, Vimukthi Educational Trust, visited the families in the slum to assess their needs. Further probing into the issue of begging, the parents were made aware of the need for quality education for their children. The team decided to utilise an adjacent vacant hall as a temporary classroom for these children to provide basic education with the help of volunteers.
In addition, BREADS Bangalore in partnership with ResponseNet, Zomato Feeding India, and IndiGo reached out to these 60 families in JMIT circle on 22 August 2020 with essential food materials. BREADS appreciates the partners on the ground— the Child Welfare Committee, CHITHRA Don Bosco, Damma NGO, and Vimukthi Educational Trust for their humanitarian efforts to identify and reach out to the needy sections in society affected by COVID 19.
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