Tiruchirapalli

Covid-19 lockdown | An organisation’s gesture to nomads

A family receives groceries from volunteers of Vanavil Trust in Nagapattinam.

A family receives groceries from volunteers of Vanavil Trust in Nagapattinam.  

It mobilises funds to purchase groceries for them

A not-for-profit organisation which works with children of nomadic tribes has found a way to help the families during the COVID-19 lockdown by spreading awareness and mobilising funds to purchase groceries for them.

Vanavil Trust was set up for children from the narikuravar and boom boom mattukarar communities who were devastated by the tsunami in 2004. A residential school has also been set up to educate their children.

R. Revathi, founder, Vanavil Trust, told The Hindu that their first plan of action was to create awareness.

“Since we work with young children, we had to teach them why we need to close the school, why they needed to go back home,” she said. Of the total school strength, 25 children remain at the school and are being cared for.

While conducting the awareness campaign, volunteers found that nearly 500 families, of about right villages, mostly boom boom mattukarar families are struggling to feed themselves.

“Many of them still beg, even though the Collector is taking efforts to change that, and even those who have picked up different jobs are daily wage labourers, because of which income was cut off,” Ms. Revathi said.

Through a fundraising page called Give India, a campaign to donate to these families began last week. A budget of ₹850 was drawn to purchase 10 kg of rice, 1 kg pulses, rava 2 kg, oil 1 litre, tamarind 250 grams, chilli powder 250 gms, tea powder 100 gms, sugar 1 kg and a packet of biscuits for the kids.

“We set the quantities hoping to provide for two weeks worth of reason,” Ms. Revathi said. Nearly ₹ 8 lakh has been raised through the website as on Saturday.

Purchasing and distributing ration kits were a difficult task amid the lockdown.

“We are unable to buy the groceries in bulk. A decentralised system was then devised. A village member and a Vanavil school teacher walk to the nearby local grocery shop and purchase in small quantities,” Ms. Revathi said.

“We buy only how much we can distribute in a day and give it out separately,” she said.

The Vanavil Trust also identified 231 conservancy workers who are also receiving the ration bags. “For them, we are also providing facemasks, gloves and soaps,” Ms. Revathi said.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 3:00:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/an-organisations-gesture-to-nomads/article31257647.ece

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