Kerala Interstate Migrants Alliance for Transformation (KISMAT) a project of BREADS, is actively engaged in providing relief for migrant labourers during the second wave of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown in Kerala with essential and crucial services. In Kerala, a complete lockdown was declared on 8 May 2021 to contain the massive and rapid spread of COVID-19. Shops remained closed, public transport and movement of vehicles were strictly restricted with only the essential services and needs in place. In this scenario of lockdown, the migrant workforce is severely affected due to the loss of jobs. It is indeed a painful predicament for them as they are unable to travel back to their native places due to the cancellation of the trains. Having no work, no income and no money to pay the house rent, the lives of guest workers have turned into a tragedy. Most employers are not able to pay them because construction and such projects have also come to a standstill. In spite of the support of the state government, the ground realities are hard, as many of the migrants do not have the financial security for their food and live with fear and an uncertain future.
Immediately after the lockdown was announced, KISMAT opened 12 help desks for COVID support across Kerala with emergency helpline numbers for the guest workers in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Angamaly, Palakkad, Kannur, Kozhikode, Kasaragod, Wayanad. Through these helpdesks, KISMAT channelled essential services to the migrants in the state. Till date, the service reached out to 8544 migrants with multi-pronged activities. The KISMAT helplines received hundreds of calls from the migrants for psycho-social support, enquiries about process of vaccination, travel etc. KISMAT offered other support such as ration kits, counselling, travel arrangements, unpaid wage settlements, hospital assistance, RTPCR test assistance, collaboration with the Labour Departments in the districts for ration kit distribution, preparation of COVID-19 awareness posters, videos, registration for vaccination, job placement, shelter and educational support for migrant students during these initial periods of the lockdown. In the coming days, KISMAT with the support of BREADS, will continue to reach out to 50 most vulnerable migrant families in each district with ration kits, medicines, support for travel etc.
KISMAT services during the lockdown period as on 14 May 2021
|Emergency helpline support||315|
|Unpaid wage settlements||17|
|Assistance for RTPCR tests||98|
|Assistance of the Labour Department||92|
|Awareness posters & videos||16|
|Vaccine/food kit registration||4140|
|Job placement support||22|
|Safe shelter support||22|
|Other crisis interventions||76|
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