The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on all sections of society, with the poor having been hit harder than others. One of these sections of society is the urban poor, in the heart of Mumbai is Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest informal workers townships having a population of 1 million people residing on 2.5 square km land or 600 acres. (one of the places with the highest density of people in the world) . In Mumbai, the slums or shanties are where over 60% of the working population resides.
Income needed to provide for a family’s living expenses comes from what the earning member of the family is able to earn in a day, after working for 12 hours, which is often informal & temporary. With the lockdown restrictions imposed by the authorities during the pandemic, many of the daily wage wagers in Dharavi are no longer able to earn their living to afford the basic living necessities for themselves or their families, and some have lost their income altogether.
Those working in informal industries such as recycling, construction, restaurants, small factories & manufacturing units, waste management, housekeeping, transport, or hawking have lost their livelihoods during the two phases of lockdowns. The daily earnings from these jobs range from a minimum of ₹200 to a maximum of ₹400. Most of the money is spent on rent or food.
Apart from that, there are other expenses such as electricity bills, transport, health, and daily necessities. Considering all the expenses, living in metro cities like Mumbai is becoming unaffordable for the poor and marginalised in such difficult times, leading to people cutting costs for their family expenses they are not getting enough nutrition and are negligent about their health. Individuals and organizations are trying their best to support and provide the essentials to the residents of Dharavi. We have reached a point where it’s not only the threat of the Covid-19 virus but also distress from the loss of livelihood, and hunger.
We at WRAG-ACORN have started a relief campaign aimed at raising funds for the COVID-19 Hunger Project. These funds will be contributing towards the relief Project for the underprivileged families in Dharavi, Mumbai. This will help 500 families with weekly essentials including ration kits, hygiene kits, sanitary products, etc.
Our ground staff, Lakshmi Kamble, Sandeep Mandal, Ainul Sheikh, Pooja Sherkhane, Sheetal Rathod are working tirelessly distributing ration kits in areas near Dharavi including Ramgad chawl, Prakash Nagar, Naya Nagar, Mahim bus depot including Kamla Nagar, Azad Nagar, 90-feet, Pila bungalow, Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, Kumbharwada, etc. Provisions are sourced from local Kirana shops, transported to the Acorn office in Dharavi, made into packages at the office, and distributed by Acorn volunteers navigating the narrow gullies on motorcycles to reach rooms deep inside the Dharavi settlement which is home to 10 Lakh people.
No contribution is small. A simple contribution as low as ₹450 can provide a sanitation kit, containing the necessities for proper hygiene as well as hand sanitisers, soaps face masks, etc. A contribution of ₹750 will provide a ration kit containing flour, oil, pulses, sugar, spices, tea, etc, which will be able to feed a family of 5 for an entire week. Your help can bring a huge change and smiles to a lot of families.