The Indian government enforced a hastily announced and poorly managed lockdown on March 19th leaving the people of India scrambling in the middle of the night to make sure they were prepared to stay indoors for an extended period of time. Among the worst affected were the poor in India who rely on daily wages to survive. 81% of the 1.3 billion people that call India home work in the informal sector, and with all non-essential services closed under the lockdown, this vulnerable section of the society was left with no means to secure basic necessities of food, water and shelter, as no contingency plans were announced or put in place by the government.
Many of the daily wagers are also migrant workers who work in cities away from their hometowns and live in temporary, make-shift housing while they work in big cities. When the shutdown was announced it created a humanitarian crisis, leaving hundreds of thousands of migrant workers with no jobs, and no means to get back to their hometowns where they could at least have access to their communities and permanent shelter. This created a mass exodus of workers walking back to their villages, some undertaking journeys of hundreds of kilometers on foot with their children and families in the scorching heat with no access to food or water on the long way home. At least 22 migrant workers have died trying to return home, often from sheer exhaustion.
After the media raised alarms about this, temporary transport was organized by the state governments. And the central government has now announced free food rations, free cooking gas, and cash transfers (albeit very little in value) for the nation’s poor and underprivileged. This announcement was a relief, but the implementation details are murky and in the interim, a majority of the population is still vulnerable with no means to secure food and water.
A lot of nonprofits and NGOs have stepped up to do the hard work of making sure the most marginalized sections of the society have access to basic necessities. Here’s a curated and verified list of fundraisers by these organizations that you can donate to, which will have a direct impact on helping the most needy in India.
Many more fundraisers across India can be found on this site, which is maintaining a live, verified database of all organizations offering help and in need of donations.
Every dollar counts and it will help feed families who have no other way out. Stay safe and do the best you can to help. We are all in this together.