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As we observe International Volunteer’s Day today, let’s look at the selfless efforts made by Anganwadi workers in India who are at the frontline volunteering during COVID-19.
Every year 5th December is celebrated as International Volunteer Day. This year, the day holds more importance than ever as all of us stand in the face of COVID-19 , with the roles of volunteers becoming more important than ever. They are the everyday workers on the shoulders of whom the whole public health system actually stands, yet they are the last ones to get their due.
According to the United Nations, this year’s theme is ‘Together We Can Through Volunteering’, which focuses on the difficulties, efforts and needs of volunteers during the pandemic.
Let’s look at some of the efforts made by the Anganwadi workers as they execute their roles as frontline COVID responders across rural communities in India.
When COVID-19 struck the entire world and the subcontinent, many of us stayed in our houses as a precautionary measure while many volunteers, including countless Anganwadi volunteers, stepped out on the frontlines to provide assistance and help to people who needed them.
As the pandemic started gaining momentum, lockdowns measures were implemented across the country which created many hurdles in providing necessary supplementary nutrition to many undernourished children, nursing and pregnant mothers in rural areas.
Through their Take Home Ration (THR) Scheme, Anganwadi workers have been providing ration to the families of many undernourished children, nursing and pregnant mothers. With the outbreak of COVID-19, these workers have been directly visiting the families and their houses to provide necessary supplements in order to ensure that the children and mothers remain properly nourished.
Anganwadi workers have been playing a crucial role in providing assistance, creating awareness regarding health and healthy practices amongst women and children in rural areas.
In the wake of COVID-19, Anganwadi workers are ensuring that pregnant mothers and mothers who have just given birth are carefully assisted with regular health check-ups and other necessities to maintain their safety during the pandemic.
It is no hidden fact that for years, Anganwadi workers have been working hard and have established their position as an important pillar of support for children and women in rural communities.
Because although they are community volunteers and hence given part time workers’ pay, it is their knowledge of their community, their reach in even remote areas as part of the community, and the dedication they show despite being women who might have other gendered issues, that needs to be valued.
Despite these ordeals, they firmly stand as the backbone of the public health system in India. Their efforts must be recognised, appreciated and prioritised by the Government. The government must ensure the safety of the Anganwadi workers since many of them have reportedly been subjected to heckling and other undesirable treatment, as well as many of them have prior health conditions which make them more vulnerable.
As for us, we must cooperate with them in their selfless and relentless work being done in such tough circumstances.
Image source: Flickr/ DFID
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