A Ray Of Hope, Amid The Pandemic

As India continues to fight these dark days of Pandemic, stories of solidarity bring us hope and inspire to help those in need, to combat the novel coronavirus. Amidst the lockdown, our grassroots leaders have continued to facilitate high impact, sustained social change in the areas of gender inequality and social justice in Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Their efforts to protect the neediest affected due to the lockdown speaks volume about their incredible acts of humanity. We bring to you few stories that will give you strength to fight the days ahead here,

Usha Jevarikar is a grassroots leader from the current cohort of Grassroots Leadership Development Program. She works with a community in Jai Ambenagar in Bhandup, Mumbai, primarily focused on the issue of girls’ education and women’s health. Most of the people in this community are casual labourers, daily labourers from an unorganised sector. The lockdown brought an end to their livelihood sources and they started facing survival issues. The food store at home lasted hardly for a week. The most affected among them were pregnant women. Realizing the situation, Usha contacted a few women on the phone. She found that Megha and her family were facing severe food shortage. There were many like Megha trapped in such an adverse situation. Despite the strict lockdown, Usha took the risk of personally visiting the women in this community. She assured them of help and immediately reached out to the needy families with the grocery kits provided by CORO as a part of its relief work. It ensured monthly groceries to these families. Usha’s husband accompanied her to transport the grocery kits to the affected families through his auto. A few days after a pregnant woman called Usha and asked for financial help for the medical check-up. The facility being unavailable at Govt hospital, she had to get the check-up done at a private clinic. Usha and her mentor Reshma supported the women with Rs. 500/- from their pocket. Examples like Usha give a new hope to their communities and inspiration to other leaders.

Kaushalya Bawane is a grassroots leader from Samta Pratishan in Marathwada. A strong local voice against domestic violence, Kaushalya is part of CORO’s vast network of change-makers who have mobilised aid during the lockdown to ensure that families in their areas received the aid they needed. In Beed and its surrounding villages, Kaushalya coordinated with the local community to support 7 families with help packages. And when she heard that one family did not receive any relief kits, she spent Rs 1000 of her own money to buy them groceries. But Kaushalya is not alone in stepping forward to support the needy in her community. Many like her have joined hands to take CORO’s relief efforts deeper into their communities through selfless acts of giving. Kaushalya works primarily with housemaids, porters, construction workers, and restaurant workers. When they lost their livelihoods due to the lockdown, Kaushalya reached out to her friends in Nathapur village, 40 KM away from Beed city, for support in the form of food aid for needy families. The villagers of Nathapur readily prepared and delivered 600 Bhakris (flat bread), pickles, and a spicy chutney made of groundnuts, to her organisation. With her colleagues, Kaushalya distributed the food to families in the Khadkpura community in Beed. We find Kaushalya’s benevolence amidst crisis especially inspiring and are proud to have such an intrepid grassroots leader on our team.