At this time, Sampark decided to step in and support the vulnerable people it is connected with. Regular contact with the community was critical in providing awareness, guiding the workers so that they don’t leave the city in distress, and in outreach to the most vulnerable.
The leaders and members of the Sampark promoted Karnataka Construction Workers Union (Karnataka Kattada Shramikara Sangha) helped the Sampark team to identify the most vulnerable workers, and to distribute food, nutrition and hygiene kits in labour settlements. They were the primary contact points for the Sampark team as well as the workers, and formed an effective bridge to channel support to the workers and their families.
Sampark team in Varanasi talked to village leaders to understand the specific needs of each village, how prepared they are with quarantine centres and how able they are to welcome returning migrants without risking the health of others. Team passed on relevant training and information to the village leaders for how to best cope with and prepare for the virus, while allowing for the safe return of migrants who have made their journeys home. Team also trained young women from self-help groups as health monitors for their villages, which enabled the setting up of community monitoring systems and surveillance.
Early on in Sampark’s work with the children of construction workers, Sampark had realized the need to bridge the digital divide between the children of privileged and underprivileged families. The first step to bridging the divide was to increase the tech capabilities of the teachers. Sampark provided interest-free loans to the teachers, all 33 of whom ensured that they own smart phones. This allowed them to be connected to one another, share teaching material and coordinate better for meeting the needs of the creche children.
During the COVID19 period, the teachers have developed over 100 videos of learning material, which has been sent to phones of the parents, so that the children can learn through their parents. It has helped the children stay connected to their teachers.
From the period of the lockdown, the ground realities have been changing, requiring an adjustment to the support provided by Sampark. In order to ensure that its relief programme meets the needs of the workers, Sampark team has conducted fortnightly surveys on all the 40 sites where it works. A survey was also conducted with the parents of the children on 17 sites. This not only shows how many families have returned to their homes and have returned back to the work sites, it also highlights the need for awareness, change in behaviour for better preventive practices, and the need for food, nutrition and educational support to the children and the mothers. With the new normal in place Sampark plans to reach out to more migrant workers and their children.
With the help of kind donors and their generous efforts we have started distribution of nutrition kits to migrant construction workers in the labour colonies, where Sampark works. Strict safety measures were followed by Sampark staff, volunteers and workers. The workers were informed to maintain a safe distance while collecting their ration. Timely help and quick intervention with safety as priority is the need of the hour!
Sampark would like to thank all Individual and corporate donors, for all their generous contributions !!