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27 Apr 2020

People Of Covid-19

During times of crisis, it is easy to be overwhelmed with the rapid influx of numbers and data. The Covid-19 pandemic is no different. But, behind these numbers and data are real people, all with their own stories on how the crisis is affecting them. Seva Mandir works with 500,000 people in 1,300 communities across southern Rajasthan, and through People of Covid-19, we are sharing their stories.


Meera

Just a few months ago, Meera's mother died. She had been living under her daughter's care for many years, relying on her for every need. Meera's husband has died 25 years earlier, and, aside from her responsibility as a full-time carer, she also worked as a daily-wage labourer as a means of earning some income.

When the lockdown due to Covid-19 started, Meera's only way to earn an income was abruptly cut off. She didn't know how she was going to survive. Her only support network was her local Self-Help Group - a women-only group created and facilitated by Seva Mandir. Aware of her situation, they told her of Seva Mandir's Covid-19 relief efforts.

Seva Mandir's is distributing vital sanitation, food, and agricultural kits to the neediest people in Udaipur and Rajsamand districts of southern Rajasthan. Each kit is enough for 5 people and can last 2 weeks.

‘My situation is already so bad - I did not think it could get any worse.' Meera explains. ‘But then the relief kits came, and suddenly I felt like my own family is here to help.'


Kamal

Kamal has been working with Seva Mandir for more than 14 years.

 

His job as a driver has always been crucial to the organisation, but with the outbreak of Covid-19, his role is now a lifeline between the city and the rural communities.

When the lockdown started in the 3rd week of March, Kamal, like many people, was unsure of what to expect. The local government in Udaipur granted Seva Mandir a pass to continue all essential travel, meaning Kamal could continue his vital role.

‘The sector we work in is to help people. That is our number one priority.' Kamal says proudly. ‘The people in the villages are in a desperate need of support. My job puts me at risk as I am traveling between different locations, but it means these families in the rural communities can have the supplies they need to survive the lockdown.'

 

 

 


Devi Lal

Devi Lal already had an immense responsibility as the primary earner for his family. When his brother-in-law tragically passed away, he started to look after his sister and her children too - putting ten people under his care.

His ability to care for people seemingly has no limits. As a teacher in one of Seva Mandir's Shiksha Kendra bridge schools, Devi Lal is also responsible for more than a dozen children.

Since the lockdown began, Devi Lal has been worried about his students. Seva Mandir temporarily closed the Shiksha Kendras as a precautionary measure in March. He knows they are eager to learn and to pass their exams so that they can continue their education in government schools - but all of this is on hold due to Covid-19.

Devi Lal lives in Kotra; one of the least developed areas in India. It's been very difficult for him to get all of the supplies that he needs for his large family. "The lockdown is taking its toll on me - it's very frustrating" Devi Lal says. He worries that he will not be able to give his family everything they need.

"If Seva Mandir had not given me the option to work from home and to continue my pay, I would not have been able to feed my family." He says, with optimism in his voice.

Devi Lal, along with other Shiksha Kendra teachers, are continuing to work for Seva Mandir. They are producing basic maps of their villages, helping spread awareness of Covid-19, and producing learning materials for after the lockdown.

Even when the lockdown ends, Devi Lal will continue to take care of his family - and his students who are eagerly awaiting to return to school.

 

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