Women and girls from under-privileged families are truly at risk because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Here’s how you can help.
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted us all, but it has not affected us all to the same extent. While we are struggling to stay at home, we don’t really have to think of whether we will have enough money for tomorrow’s food or soap to wash our hands.
However, what we forget is that these are the worries of many of our brothers and sisters around us, people who depend on (now non-existent) daily wages or the children of poor families. These are their everyday worries.
What’s more, women and girls from such families will be particularly affected.
Here are some stories that could very well be reality.
Every morning she used to wake up with the hope of learning something new from the school but now it isn’t possible. The pandemic has turned Savita’s world upside down. At the young age of 13, she is already burdened with doing many household chores because of her large family. Earlier, she didn’t mind the chores because for a few hours she could escape to the village school, learn, and feel confident that she could change her own circumstances. Now she stays home, unsure about the future.
Will she ever be able to go back to school and make her dream of becoming a doctor come true? Or will she have to stay back at home taking care of her brothers and sisters? Yes, school is free, but even so, her parents may not send her back, they have had no income for days.
With very little money left and so many people to nourish, the uncertainty of the future hangs around Savita’s head.
Meera and her husband Shyam are both daily wage labourers working for a construction project. They moved to this big city, because there were jobs available. As the pandemic spread they are out of jobs. They have nothing to do and hardly anything left of their meagre savings. Right now, finding food is the priority. Yes, they have heard that it is important to keep hand washing, but where is the money to buy extra soap? Meera is embarrassed that when her periods came during the lockdown, she did not have money to even buy a few sanitary pads.
The world is dark and bleak for Munni, who became a widow at the age of 22 after an accident which had killed her husband. She has a young daughter with a severe disability that hampers her mobility.
As the time passed, Munni juggled between earning a meagre income and tending to her daughter. She had moved to her mother’s place but her mother herself was ill due to old age so the responsibility of managing the home affairs was also left in her hands. The pandemic took away her low paying job of being a domestic helper and she doesn’t know what will happen in the future. In these times, whatever little money she has is used to feed her family. She is helpless about enough personal hygiene for the entire family and scared that she is at risk of catching the coronavirus.
Savita, Munni and Meera are not just characters from a story; they are the women and girls all around us, if only we care enough to look.
Before women and girls are in even more vulnerable situations, let’s enable families to stay out of distress that a further spread of COVID-19 would bring.
Join us by contributing to the Women’s Web fundraiser that will ensure that women like them are provided with Suraksha kits – each Suraksha kit includes hygiene products like face masks, liquid soaps, floor cleaner and sanitary pads so that they will be can protect themselves during this crisis, and don’t have to choose between food and safety on a small budget.
The Suraksha Kit Fundraiser has been organised in association with Plan India, a well-known non-profit organisation with the ability to deliver grassroots support of this nature through its network. No amount is too small, and every contribution will be useful – learn more here, act now, and spread the word too!
Image via Pexels
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Radhika Srivastava is an 19 year old writer from Varanasi, India. She believes that writing
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