In the time of a lockdown, when families in slums and daily wage earners are finding it difficult to survive, an NGO called Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA) has stepped in to ensure that food packets are supplied to those in need.
“We work on slum issues and the problems of the homeless. Ever since the government started taking precautionary measures against the novel coronavirus, we realised that it will impact the homeless and the extremely poor in slums,” said Vijay Kharat, senior project associate with YUVA.
YUVA ran an online campaign called ‘Together We Can’, appealing to individuals to donate generously for the cause. The organisation then conducted a survey in bastis (slums) to find those who are actually in need of this help. “We took the details of those individuals and after identifying them, gave them coupons. The coupons were meant to make the process easy and hassle-free,” said Marina Joseph, another senior associate.
Those who were given coupons were called at a designated place at a given time. The packets being given to families include 5 kg rice, 5 kg wheat, 2 kg dal, masala and a one-litre oil packet, along with detergent and hand soap. Till now, 800 such packets have been distributed to slums in Nerul, Panvel, Belapur, Mankhurd, Jogeshwari, Bandra, Malad, Nalasopara and the homeless in Matunga, Kurla and Kharghar with whom the organisation is already working on various projects. A small group of volunteers go to the assigned spots to distribute the packets.
YUVA had conducted a survey of around 1,500 families before going ahead with the distribution. The remaining 700 packets will be distributed in slum pockets in Sanpada, Malvani in Malad, Vashi Naka in Chembur, Sathe Nagar in Mankhurd, and Sakinaka near Andheri.
“We will need cooperation from government and police authorities due to lockdown orders given by the State government. We have communicated to the Chief Minister’s and Home Minister’s offices via e-mail and also sought permission from the collectors of Thane and Raigad. We are awaiting their response and are confident that we will get a positive reply,” said Roshni Nugehalli, executive director, YUVA.