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COVID 19 - Moment of Truth

Campaign by An Initiative - Touch Your Soul (AITYS)

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Story

The second wave of COVID-19 has resulted in unimaginable devastation in India. The “Moment of Truth” COVID-19 campaign was created by AITYS in order to raise funds for those most affected in areas of rural Uttarakhand, particularly in the districts Pauri and Tehri.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, people in rural Uttarakhand have been more affected than those in cities. Primarily relying on tourism or remittances by relatives who migrated to work in cities, neither of these sources of income could be counted on. Heightening the pressure, migrant workers returned home and needed to be fed, and children who used to get mid-day meals in schools have had to eat at home.

With the onslaught of the second wave of COVID-19 in 2021, they have had to deal with the combined hardship arising from the loss of employment since March 2020, as well as the reverse migration to villages. The dismal medical infrastructure and the grief of losing those near and dear have only aggravated the burden. Compounding this, unprecedented cloud bursts in the region in May 2021 as a result of climate change brought about further destruction. It seems nature's fury and man’s callousness have created a grim present for children in schools, families at home and the community at large.

In order to mitigate the strain of the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020, AITYS conducted the “COVID-19 ZERO HOUR” campaign to support the students and families of the 17 schools currently sponsored by AITYS in Uttarakhand. This campaign allowed us to provide 5k INR in assistance to each family to sustain their basic needs over a few months. Our NGO raised a total of 8.4M INR to help 1663 families.

Our sustained relationship with the people of the area has meant that we are very aware of the ground reality of severe hardship brought about by the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. With both tourism and migrant labor bringing in little income, prospects for the remainder of the year look bleak. Families are struggling for basic sustenance and have to grapple between the decision of keeping food on the plate or continuing their children’s education uninterrupted. They simply do not have the means to support themselves through this time.

And so, we ask ourselves - How can a child study with an empty stomach? How can a person survive COVID along with the harshness of starvation?

This is our “Moment of Truth”, a point of reckoning for us to reach within us to extend a hand and a light of hope to help each one of these families. The campaign aims once again to distribute 5k INR per family to keep them safe from starvation. We now have 2000 families to take care of in 2021, and We are determined to support them all.

This project forms a small part of the larger work done by our NGO for these schools. Since 2012 we have provided school sponsorships, worked towards improving infrastructure, and provided items to students to achieve a much bigger goal that, “No child should be deprived of education because of poverty”. The results of our efforts are visible and confirmed by school authorities, as well as the multiple messages received by our NGO via social media and WhatsApp.

AITYS envisages the impact of this project to its beneficiaries in three main segments as that of the "family of the school going child", "the child itself as a student" and "the school as a larger entity". The families supported are those whose children are enrolled in 17 Government Inter College schools.

With the help of this funding, these 2000 families will be able to sustain themselves financially with basics over next few months and tide over difficult times. This financial support will reduce pressure on the families to support their child’s educational expenses.

AITYS has seen from their experience that each time there is a crisis, child's education in these regions bears the brunt before anything else. Children are forced into helping at home or on farm lands as easy labor. For the child immediate impact translates thus, into continued education. There are reduced chances of the child’s education not suffering due to the poor economic condition of the family. More importantly this step would safeguard the child from being pushed into child labor.

For school staff it helps build empathetic staff-child relationships by making them a partner during times of crisis in a child’s life.

In the long term, continued education for the child increases better higher education and employment opportunities, helping the family sustain themselves. For the child and school, it ensures continuous attendance in school and regularity of the child. Increased happiness and job satisfaction will certainly lead to better teaching output for the school staff.

Organisers
An Initiative - Touch Your Soul (AITYS)

An Initiative - Touch Your Soul (AITYS)

Beneficiary Charity

Vibha Tomar

Vibha Tomar

Organiser

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