In India, the widespread confinement caused by the Coronavirus pandemic has left thousands of migrant workers stranded on the sites where they originally came to work. Far from their families, their homes and now without any income-generating activity, Aide et Action is working to assist them on a daily basis.
Before nationwide-containment was declared to curb the spread of Coronavirus in India, our volunteers and workers from our childcare and learning centers were conducting awareness programs for migrant workers. This consisted of alerting migrant populations to precautionary measures, respect for social distance, personal hygiene and the maintenance of clean living conditions, etc.
The initiative involved 2,600 migrant workers, 600 children and 50 site owners covering the cities of Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Patna. Parents and children were encouraged to immediately report symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, colds and fever seen in anyone in the workplace.
Despite the suspension of our usual activities on the ground, our teams are continuing to contact the communities via mobile phones and even make periodic visits – where safe and if necessary – to the workplace to assess the situation and help the children in cases of emergency.
Food, vaccinations and health care for children and women in the workplace are fortunately taken care of by government agencies, thanks to the bonds of trust that we have forged with them over the course of our work. Our volunteers, who are in the migrant workers’ regions of origin, also monitor their return and register them in local quarantine centers.
Advocacy work in progress
A note on the vulnerabilities of migrant workers in Covid-19 emergencies and possible actions to ensure their safety has been submitted to the Odisha National Disaster Assessment Office (OSDMA).
Aide et Action is also creating a virtual community of 300 volunteers covering 150 villages in 4 districts. Thanks to this platform, accurate and real-time information on the migrant population, the status of migrants after their return and details of their living conditions will be collected, recorded and transmitted to the government administration. As always, we contend that education and knowledge hold the key to creating brighter futures.