- CINI’s COVID relief efforts focus on daily wagers, poor children and women
- It has reached out to 30,000 children and women
- CINI is running a child helpline to aid children in distress
New Delhi: Arati Mondal, an adolescent girl from Azimganj Junction area of Murshidabad, lives with her five family members. Her father, who is the only earning member of the family, lost his job during the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of this, the little savings that the family had dried up within a few days and the family had no means of buying essentials like foodgrains. In order to help Arati’s family and many other families who were battling the similar challenges of the pandemic, Child in Need Institute (CINI), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based out of South 24 Parganas came forward with relief measures to help them cope with the ongoing crisis. With the aid from The Hans Foundation, a Public Charitable Trust that provides funding support to not for profit organizations, CINI has been able to help over 34,000 families across West Bengal and Jharkhand.
While speaking with NDTV about the relief efforts Mr. Ranjan K. Panda, Deputy Director and Chief of Programmes, CINI said,
Since the starting of the lockdown, we have been engaged in providing support to the people who have been affected by the pandemic, especially those who are daily wagers or depend on small businesses or working in tea plantations and have lost their livelihood.
CINI has provided ration kits including foodgrains, potatoes, oil, sugar, spices and other essential cooking items and hygiene kits that include sanitisers, masks, handwash and sanitary napkins to the needy families in the two states. Along with this, the organisation has also provided supplementary nutrition to children and pregnant and lactating mothers. Cooked by the staff of the organisation themselves, a low-cost supplementary nutrition item called ‘Nutrimix’ is being provided to 30,000 children and women on a regular basis.
Laxmi Kumari, a 22-year-old member of Dibdih Girja Toli, Ward No.36 of Ranchi in Jharkhand a community leader who helped implement CINI’s COVID-19 relief efforts in the village and slum areas said,
We are grateful to CINI for providing these food packets to the needy and vulnerable families in this community. Today we distributed 68 packets to such families who are having single earning member, elderly people, widow families, migrants and daily labourers. They are devoid of getting the benefits from any kind of government services/schemes. They are neither linked with the PDS system. In this crisis times, such generous help gives hope to people.
To address the needs of children in villages and slums area in West Bengal and Jharkhand, during the ongoing crisis, CINI has been facilitating essential nutrition and health services of the government with the help of Anganwadis and ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activist) to the doorstep of affected families. CINI is also providing interactive study material to children so that they do not feel stuck at one place and can keep themselves engaged. It has been running programmes for the protection of children as well. Explaining the health and protective services for children undertaken by the organisation, Mr Marine Mukherjee, Assistant Director, West Bengal Programmes, CINI, said,
Most of the time, relief measures are focused on providing support to adults and the needs of children are overlooked. However, it is very important to understand that the lockdown has deeply impacted the children as well. In order to protect children and provide them with support, we have been running a child helpline and open shelters. During the lockdown, there have been several instances of children running away from home. There have been some instances of child trafficking too.
According to Mr. Mukherjee, during the initial period of the lockdown, nutrition and basic health services like immunisation, monitoring of weight of children and others were affected and discontinued at most places. While the nutrition and health services of the government have resumed at most places, he said that CINI staff at the local level ensured that children and pregnant women get medical help whenever required during the lockdown. They also facilitated age-appropriate immunizations and ensure that the families are made aware about the ways to prevent transmission of the infection.
Commenting on the efforts of CINI spanning from providing ration to the families to facilitating protection services for children, Lt. Gen. SM Mehta, CEO, The Hans Foundation said,
Migrant labourers are the backbone of India’s informal sector and micro, small and medium enterprises. The COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown have created a humanitarian and health security challenge. The Hans Foundation along with CINI, are undertaking relief support drives to help the migrant labourers stranded on the streets, waiting to reach home; families in remote villages dependent on daily wages and individuals and families in urban slums who lost their incomes. With the support of CINI, we are able to help 34,000 families in West Bengal and Jharkhand. With continued efforts, The Hans Foundation aims to support these workers by focusing on providing sustenance and creating employment opportunities.
As CINI continues to help thousands of families in West Bengal and Jharkhand, they have expanded their efforts in their parts of the country as well like Assam, Odisha and in North Eastern States. They plan to cover families over the next few months with their COVID-19 response efforts, including the distribution of relief material, Nutrimix, and health and child protection services.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.