A game that helps you see the lockdown through the eyes of a daily wage worker

Screenshot of the game  

Imagine this: You are a domestic help with a family of four to support and you have zero savings. The Government has just announced a 21-day lockdown. Will you walk 12 kilometres to collect your salary of ₹3,000 from your employer, or borrow ₹6,000 from a lender at 10% interest? A few days into lockdown, your son suddenly complains of fever and chest pain. You have read that these are symptoms of COVID-19. Would you spend ₹4,000 on getting him tested or would you feed him home remedies?

Chennai-based NGO Yein Udaans’s game ‘Survive COVID’ throws these questions at its players who are expected to survive 21 days with limited money. Launched on April 27, the game is gaining laurels for sensitising people on the problems of daily wagers. The founder of Yein Udaan, Vedika Agarwal, who works with low-income families, came up with the concept of the game. It was developed by XR Labs, a solutions company that works with augmented and virtual reality.

“I had tried writing blogs and posts about their problems but it did not seem to make an impact. That is when I came up with the idea of creating a game that puts the user in the shoes of a domestic help who supports her alcoholic husband, an in-law, and two sons. You are expected to survive 21 days with a few thousands that you may have. You lose the game if you run out of money or your risk of contracting COVID-19 reaches 100%” explains Vedika.

Vedika who has been working closely with daily wagers learnt how the lockdown was a privilege that most poor families could not afford. “When I spoke to them I realised several of them are surviving on one meal a day. Buying masks or hand sanitisers is a luxury for them. The guidelines suggest that we wash hands for 20 seconds several times a day but there are hundreds of people who do not have access to running water. They have to use stored water for drinking, cleaning the house, and washing clothes and utensils. In such cases washing hands often is a privilege.” She says the the aim of the game is not just to garner funds to help these families. “It is also to sensitise people about their struggles. Having stripped off their savings, they are struggling to survive.”

At the end of 21 scenarios, the game provides the users with a link through which they can donate to Yein Udaan which is organising grocery-donation drives for over 500 low income families. They are also distributing activity books and stationery to the kids of these families.

You can play the game at

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 10:51:09 AM |

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