Coronavirus in Mumbai: Crowdfunding comes to the rescue of daily wagers
BL Soni

Mumbai: With the coronavirus lockdown hitting the poorest of the poor -- the daily wage workers -- a group of students associated with India against CAA movement in the city on Wednesday started a crowdfunding initiative to provide household provisions to workers.

The students used social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp to gather donations for food kits that would be sent to the slums in Mankhurd and Govandi areas, where the daily wage workers, mostly from UP and Bihar, live.

By 5pm on Thursday, barely a day after the collection started, they managed to garner Rs 1.5 lakh. A food kit costs around Rs 750 and consists of 5kg of wheat, 5kg rice, 1kg sugar, 1kg salt, a litre of oil, 2kg of dal and quarter kilo of tea powder.

Arish Qamar, a Phd scholar with the International Institute of Population Sciences and one of the youths who started the initiative said that they presently have four centres in Janta Nagar, Ekta Nagar and Shivneri Nagar in Mankhurd and in Rafique Nagar in Govandi, and are planning to open two centres -- one in Maharashtra Nagar and in PMG Colony. “The centres are actually the homes of people I know personally as part of my work – one is an angandwadi worker and another a social worker, for instance,” Qamar said. Provisions are stocked there and delivered at the doorstep of needy families by volunteers.

Almaas Ansari, 40, a homemaker who received a food kit is the wife of a casual labourer who earned Rs 200 a day, before his employment was hit due to the coronavirus and a lockdown. She has a 15-year-old daughter with a health disability. “It was difficult to make ends meet since some days. Sometimes, we ate food and at times there was nothing. I would cry and make my daughter sleep by giving some milk. The provision is a relief for some time at least,” she said. But she still has worries as the medication for her daughter costs around Rs 4,000 a month. “In normal times, people used to give some money. But now everyone is having financial problems and are unable to help,” she said.

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