SEEKING SUPPORT FOR SURVIVAL OF FREED BONDED LABOURERS: UNEXPECTED SUFFERING CAUSED DUE TO THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC AND THE SUBSEQUENT NATION-WIDE LOCKDOWN IN INDIA
COVID 19 – THE UNPREDICTABLE HEALTH EMERGENCY:
I am sure you all agree that, at this point, it is not an exaggeration to say that we are at war against the Coronavirus and that it is a war we must win together to save life. Currently, we are experiencing a very unique and unprecedented situation due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID -19) outbreak in our country. The next few weeks are critical in this context due to national lockdown; the impacts of plague are going bigger and broader. We are in support of all the steps that is being taken by the government for the elimination of COVID-2019.
While we are cooperating in our national interest to curb the spread of Coronavirus; we are also constantly evaluating the current situation of the wage labourers, construction workers, landless labours, freed bonded labourers, migrant labourers, tribals, slum dwellers, street vendors, aged persons, poor pregnant women and village vendors and so on. Millions of daily wage earners and other unorganised sector people are the ones who are worst affected in this time. Large numbers of people living in remote and tribal areas are facing scarcity.
This is an opportunity for us to break the barriers and reduce the gaps. The Coronavirus reminds us that we are all equal, regardless of our status, class, culture, caste, religion, occupation, language and this disease treats us all equally; perhaps it is time we all remember that we are human. A large number of people are in need of food, water, medicine, and we use this opportunity to extend a helping hand to serve to the poor and vulnerable. It will not-only prevent Coronavirus, butalso indebtedness, re-bondage system, migration, starvation and malnutrition and it will ensure the promotion of national safety.
STARVATION – THE SITUATION OF EX- BONDED LABOURERS:
As we are all under Nation-wideLockdown and maintaining social distancing to support the campaign on Stay at Home for 21 days, a huge number of poor people are struggling in starvation. Especially, several ex- bonded labourers (survivors of labour trafficking) are struggling for food daily as they face food-shortage. Several daily wage labourers are in hunger and lack support in getting access to necessities like food, water and medicines. They also do not getenough nutritious drinks like milk to feed their children or sanitary materials to maintain hygiene. Women and children are especially vulnerable in this situation.
We are witnessing the situation of freed bonded labourers living in the States of Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh asthey face huge food shortage and are unable to get food, water, medicine.Local Community members are making phone calls and expressing their situation. Therefore, we propose a request to extend your financial support which can help to buy provisions and food materials to provide basic needs to the needy for their survival during this phase. Your support will reduce the vulnerability and save the victims of bonded labourers. Their blessings and gratefulness to have something to eat that will return to your home and your generations through God and nature.
OUR SUBMISSION AND REQUEST:
Please extend your helping hand to save number of people from starvation and famine. Already for the last fifteen-days, many of these people did not get any labour work and they are now in pathetic condition due to lack of wages. Most of the released bonded labourers are depending on daily-wagesfor their daily food. Currently there is no wage support due to lock-down. Now they are worried about another 21 days + and it is very hard to restore their life under this unpredictable poverty. Hence we need to provide some necessities for their survival. We want to provide basic provisions / materials to the needy people. Hence, please extend your support. Any amount will help and make a huge difference to every impoverished family. We have mapped men women and children belonging to 1700 families who were rescued from bondage and families who are equally vulnerable and live in the same community of the labourerswho will benefit out of this support.Each kit will cost Rs. 2000 with a total of Rs. 34,00,000 (Thirty-Four Lakhs) for 1700 families. This will help us buy the following items that will be distributed as disaster support kits (basic commodities to survival) for each family.
Details for each kit worth of Rs.2000:
Estimated Beneficiaries in various Districts:
We request any individual or Corporates to support fully or extend State-wise support.
NEED AND JUSTIFICATION ON THIS REQUEST:
The issue of bonded labour system is a crime and violence on voiceless. It is a historical injustice practiced against the poorest of the poor. The most marginalised groups are the victims for generations in countries like India where the caste and feudal systems are experienced widely. Bonded Labour system is a practice in which employers give high-interest loans to workers who work at low wages to pay off the debt.This system is illegal and it was abolished by the Indian Government through the legislation known as the “Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976. However, the system is exist in many parts of the country and millions of people are forced to work under the Bonded Labour System. Men, women, children are exploited in all aspects. In the process of eliminating this social crime and seeking justice; we have rescued hundreds of the poor people and rehabilitation is going on. Each rescued family’s needs minimum of 5 years to restore their life through sustainable rehabilitation process. Hundreds of people are freed in few years and they are depending on daily wages for their food and day-to-day life. They are people who are now most vulnerable and living in the conditions of deprivation.
Due to uninvited virus COVID 19 and followed that the Nation-Wide Lock Down these freed bonded labourers along with their family members are pushed into miserable conditions and they will live in extreme starvation if not supported. The Government is taking severalsteps to secure life, food and safety which we highly appreciate. However, most of the freed bonded labourers do not have Aadhar Card, Ration Card and they just started securing their life in new settlement since rescue a few months ago. Hence, the allocated schemes and emergency support from the Government will not reach these unreachable beneficiaries without due process. Therefore, your support will helpfeed them for a month by supply of rice and other food materials.
In the current situation, we are depending on the Corporates and Donors who are having good will to do the Relief Work at the emergency. It is part of disaster management and helping the poor who are in need of the support.
HOW WE WILL SUPPLY AND REACH-OUT THE BENEFICIARIES :
We have staff / volunteers in these proposed districts and village locationsand their bank details are with our organisation. We will transfer the prescribed amount to each person who is in the district based on the beneficiaries list along-with implementation guidelines. The local staff will reach-out the needy person to provide living support. The concern local staffs are also having ID card which will be shown to local administration for permission to provide the provisions to the released bonded labourer/associated families to prevent their starvation. The entire beneficiaries list will be documented and circulated to the supporters.
District wise list is prepared and provisions will be given to each beneficiaries as per the list. Procurement of allocated provisions will be done by the local staff along with the leader of the Released Bonded Labourers. It will be decided by each district and we will coordinate over phone, WhatsApp and email. The work that we do will protect the people – especially the labourers, women, children from starvation. This activity plan will prevent migration, indebtedness, violence from money-lenders, re-bondage, sale of their house sites, restoration of their family members, stopping them from begging, and stillhope at this time as well as promote safety and dignity of the weaker sections of the society.
THE ORGANISATION TO WORK AT THE FIELD FOR THIS CAUSE:
The Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) is legally working for the rights of most vulnerable communities in Southern India and mainly protecting rights of the unorganised sectors. Specific focus of the organisation is—promoting welfare of the weaker sections, eradication of bonded labour system, disaster management, protecting women’s rights, supporting children, and empowering poor to overcome difficulties, violence and differences in social, economic, educational, health, cultural, legal and establishing social justice for dignified life with sustainable efforts for safety world. The FSD organisation is working in identification, release, rehabilitation and prevention of the bonded labourers and achieved in liberating over 7400 bonded labourers in last 7 years along with the support of various district administration.
Additional works to be undertaken by us in Fight Against Coronavirus:
Please read our request and kindly extend your support to protect poor labourers. We are requesting you whatever you can give that amount and inform other friends to extend their support at this unpredictable health emergency. Any amount it can be – either Rs.1,000 to Rs.100,000 and it can be online payment. Everything that you support and you will receive receipt and report from us. We are trying to get finance support from anybody whohas willingness to help the people to prevent scarcity and poverty. This will be great help at this stage for people to prevent starvation and hunger. The released bonded labourers who are unorganised will get immediate support and their families will survive.
Bank Details for online payment:
Organisation Name: Foundation for Sustainable Development
The FSD organisation is a legal entity to get funding from any individual, corporates and foreign donations and it has been registered with FCRA, IT, NITI AYOG and has Income Tax Exemption. (For additional information, please refer the Attachment Titled – FSD Profile in Short)
TEAM TO BE INVOLVED IN THIS RELIEF WORK:
The above twelve-member team will do the proper implementation of the proposed plan and through this efforts, about 1700 families will be gaining benefit in this current situation. So please join with us and extend your effort for building the society with inclusive growth.
For additional information about us, please see our website: fsdindia.org
Dr. K. Krishnan, Executive Director
Address: : FSD Registration Office
FSD Office : Telangana State Office: