I am born in a country where social distancing is a true luxury - India. Ever since the lockdown was announced on the 25th March all throughout my India, millions specially wage workers and day labourers, mostly migrants from rural areas living in big cities like Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore have been left in the dark. Nowhere to go, nothing to eat and no shoulder to lean on. Many wonder if help would come in time for those running out of time.
With folded hands, 11-year-old Raman said he had not eaten for three days and appealed to authorities to provide at least drinking water, if not food, to him and his three younger siblings, who have not had a proper meal since the nationwide lockdown was enforced on March 24 in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
For more than a decade, Begum Jan had managed to survive on the streets of Kolkata. A long time wheelchair-user, she had a specific spot on a busy street. Rickshaw drivers and passers-by always made sure she had something to eat.
But last week, for the first time since she became homeless after falling ill with tuberculosis and losing her job as a housemaid, the 62-year-old was in danger of starving.
“For the past week, none of these people who usually help me have come in sight,” she said, her voice cracking with sadness. “They are all at home because of the lockdown; they don’t have any job and so they cannot help me any more.”
Her son, Raja Khan, also now lives on the streets with his three children after his work as a railway porter dried up.
Every day since the lockdown was declared, Khan has been pushing his mother as much as 25 miles a day in her wheelchair in an attempt to find food for her and his children. “No trains are running and so I am completely jobless,” he said. “I need to work daily to support my family of four people, so for the first time in my life I have taken to begging. It is humiliating.”
Manoranjan Ghosh, who worked – and slept – in a roadside tea shop in Kolkata, is another of the new homeless.
He made a temporary home in a small space on the floor of the railway station and still dresses as smartly as he can every morning, but said things were getting harder: “I bought food and used up all my savings in the first two or three days of the lockdown. Then I sold my mobile phone to a vegetable seller to be able to sustain myself for a few more days. But now I have no money.
“I worked well and lived with dignity. Suddenly I have turned homeless and been made a beggar.”
When prime minister Narendra Modi announced almost six weeks ago that India’s entire population of 1.3bn people would be under lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, it was the largest restriction of movement the world had ever seen.
The consequences for India, where tens of millions live in poverty, work thousands of miles from home, often living where they work, have been cataclysmic.
For those like Jan, Manoranjan who do not have a home, the edict to stay indoors and maintain social distance for 54 days has been particularly cruel.
This is an URGENT appeal to raise money for food for homeless,hopeless,daily-wage earners in Kolkata who's incomes have suddenly stopped due to the lock down. Right now there is no social security, no help available, these people live on a hand to mouth basis, daily, their incomes have suddenly and completely STOPPED and they are going to starve.
We urgently need to raise money to buy food items . We are now distributing in total about 1000 cooked meals a day across Kolkata along with about 100 food ingredient bags(each bag being about 15 meals).For homeless people, we are providing cooked meals. For families living in the Slums of Kolkata we are providing rations(rice, dhal, flour, oil etc.) for cooking.
CAN YOU HELP US by sharing your blessings? However small or big?
Just a few dollars will hugely help a family in desperate need. We aim to raise enough to provide food for around 1000 families for 2-3 weeks to get them through the worst of this crisis. You can make a difference by helping kids & adults from starving. $1 feeds 2 meals per person.
Your $1 can help them not starve today.
$10 can provide 2 meals for 10 individuals for a day
$50 to $60 can provide groceries for a family for a month
Areas that are being served right now:
Topsia, sapgachi, kasaibagan, canal circular road,rajabazar,cossipore
THIS CAMPAIGN IS FOR ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE A VOICE AND CAN NOT TELL US WHAT THEY ARE GOING THROUGH.
We are so grateful for any support you can offer. If you cannot afford to donate towards our appeal, we would be so grateful if you could please consider sharing this page on social media and helping us spread the word. Thank you so much from Faruk Hossain & team.