Amid lockdown, starvation became as much threat as Covid-19 for daily wagers. Concerned about the plight of her family who migrated to their native place during the lockdown, 18-year-old Pallavi Wavhale saved not only hers but seven other families in her village from starving.
After her family migrated to their native places in Parbhani district, they were denied ration, as the address on their ration card was of Kalwa, Thane Thanks to her training as a youth facilitator with NGO SNEHA (Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action) she reached out to the officials and ensured ration supply for her and seven other families.
Pallavi's family hails from Pohetakali village in Parbhani district of Marathwada region. After losing their livelihood in Kalwa, Thane district, her family returned to their native place in April. However, they were left in the lurch after being denied ration on their orange ration card with a Kalwa address.
"In April, my family informed me about how they are struggling to get ration and food amid lockdown. They had a very difficult time. In September I attended a talk by Gorakh Avhad of Rationing Kruti Samiti through SNEHA. That is when I got to know, that we can avail ration anywhere on ration card with any address in the country. I shared my parent's plight with Mr Avhad and he suggested I must approach the rationing officer. He even offered to help if the rationing officer in Pathri tehsil still disagrees to give ration to my parents. I approached the rationing officer and informed him about the government scheme, initially he was reluctant but later he agreed to give ration to my family."
By September the Wavhale family started getting ration on the same ration card. However, Pallavi learnt that more families in the village migrated during the lockdown and were struggling to get ration.
Seeing other families equally in distress due to lack of sufficient ration, Pallavi wrote to the local authorities and ensured that others get ration too. "At SNEHA, we are taught how to take civic actions, how to approach local government authorities, how to write to them etc. This training helps me save my own and a few other families," said Pallavi.
Pallavi was also instrumental in getting food for many daily wagers who were stuck in Mumbai -- jobless and without any resources in Kalwa's Jai Bhim Nagar when the lockdown was first imposed. She contacted the local corporator seeking help for those stuck in lockdown.
Anjali Pore, Programme Coordinator, Empowerment, Health and Sexuality of Adolescents (EHSAS), Kalwa, said, "The youth need proper guidance and direction. At SNEHA, in our EHSAS Programme, we conduct capacity building training programmes and workshops regularly where we focus on topics like how public governance systems work, the processes, the Constitution and their rights and responsibilities. This helps youth to understand their rights and, in our experience, this enables them to fight for their and their community rights".