Our Response as Disaster Relief for Rural Communities
As a response to the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic, Barefoot College has pledged to distribute survival kits to villages in India who are in dire need of essential supplies. The need is immediate for urgent attention on marginalized communities that are at a higher risk of infection and are critically low on food supplies. The pandemic has resulted in a food crisis that can be as devastating as the effects of the virus itself. By offering provisions, we can drastically reduce this burden on villagers and offer peace of mind for many who may be struggling both with sanitation and nutrition.
The month’s supply includes:
- Food and provisions including flour, lentils, spices and vegetables
- Nutritional supplements
- Face masks and hand sanitizers, produced by Barefoot
Distributed kits include the basics that remote villages need as a minimum standard to ensure they can cope the brunt of the crisis. This includes every migrant worker, daily wage labourer, woman and child who currently have no source of income. In addition to food, kits include supplies that can keep families hygienic and safe as per WHO recommendations. Every complete package consisting of these items will cost INR 2,475 (USD $32.00) per kit at a weight of 30 kgs.
Our Barefoot College International Staff and Contractors, which constitute over 200 individuals across five continents have voluntarily accepted pay cuts for the next three months. The savings combined with the donations of generous partners and donors is thus far INR 1,79,23,053 (USD $236 725) and establish a corpus fund whose purpose is to flow unrestricted funding directly to essential community-based organizations whose response to COVID-19 and its many social and economic challenges is needed immediately. Over 1200 kits have already been distributed to more than 6000 people.
We are calling on others (individuals and organizations) to contribute to this cause, supporting the efforts of our staff who are also volunteering their time by packaging and delivering the kits to send to the families efficiently. In India so far, 10-12 of our campus volunteers get together daily to prepare around 100 additional survival kits.
We are also determined to ensure that our staff in all of our locations globally continue their employment with us. During these unsteady times, our efforts are shifting to address what is needed immediately by the communities we serve in the countries that we are connected to. It is through our invaluable staff members that our work is carried out thoughtfully and efficiently across our training centres and external constituents.
Today, we are asking for your support to help leverage our staff salary costs. Your contributions will go toward our ongoing efforts to serve marginalized communities that require our support more today than ever before. With decades of experience and trusted connections between our team and our partners and beneficiaries, backing Barefoot College is a confident choice that more assistance will be given to rural communities in the best possible ways.
Around 80 rural women of Hatheli have been employed by Barefoot College with fair wages to make the face masks. Each woman makes around 50 masks a day, for an average production of 4000 masks daily. Masks are made both on-campus and in the women’s respective villages.
As a pilot, our first objective is to cover 20,000 women, men and children within a radius of 100 kilometers around the Barefoot College campus in Tilonia, India. We are including foremost the poorest and hardest hit slums in Kishangarh and Beawar, to target those most vulnerable to food shortages and job loss.
Feeding Two Birds with One Seed
We also recognize the need to support farmers, whose livelihoods are also threatened due to unprecedented changes in daily life including transportation obstacles. Perishable vegetable produce from hundreds of local farmers in villages unable to reach local markets, because of the lockdown, will be picked up from their respective locations at fair wage prices and distributed within the survival kits.
This is a scalable model, and we are replicating this in other countries that we serve globally. With our established team of ground partners, staff members, volunteers and beneficiaries around the world, we plan to reach out to more civilians in need, through our International Training Centres and additional partners, over the coming months and as needed until the crisis subsides. The potential to save many lives cannot be stressed enough. Please donate and share our initiative widely amongst your peers and family. Any amount counts.
Help us continue doing the work we have already done successfully for nearly 5 decades by contributing what you can.