Published: 04th April 2020
Rs 1000 for 1000 families: How Mitti Ke Rang is helping daily wagers, labourers and maids through the lockdown
Six days into the crowdfunding mission, Mitti Ke Rang has raised around Rs 3.86 lakh and distributed funds to over 200 families
Amit Jain's backpacking trip across India came to a sudden halt in Guwahati when the country was locked down for 21 days due to the Coronavirus scare. But more than his being stranded, what bothered him was how this lockdown will affect the daily wage workers, maids, labourers, street-side vendors, hawkers, construction workers and others who belong to that marginalised stratum of society that is the most affected by any calamity. Amit, Co-founder of Mitti Ke Rang, a social venture dedicated to empowering widows and single women to overcome poverty and dependency, was prompt to launch a crowdfunding mission to donate Rs 1,000 to 1,000 households across India. He is also coordinating with the NGOs Mitti Ke Rang had previously worked with to fund initiatives to provide ration to people across India — not just in the metros, but to Tier II and III cities and towns as well.
Six days into the crowdfunding mission, Mitti Ke Rang has raised around Rs 3.86 lakh and distributed funds to over 200 families. Building the database of families in need can be a challenge though. With everyone locked in at home at this point, Amit chose to collect information through recommendations. "We have an exhaustive network across the country. We are thus depending upon these contacts to recommend people or families who are in need of financial support. We have details of about 700 families and till date, we have transferred funds to around 200 beneficiaries. It takes some time to figure out the withdrawal process from the website," said Amit. "We are also funding initiatives by Saraniyawas, Panah India, Nand Care Foundation and NADE who are working at the grassroot level — Samstipur (Bihar), Katol (Maharashtra), Yavatmal (Maharashtra), Dhanbad (Jharkhand), Hatichungi Ahatguri Gaon, Chenijan, Jorhat (Assam), Delhi, Osmanabad (Maharashtra), Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai, Roorkee and Panipat. We are providing funds to enable them to supply food grains and vegetables to those people in need," added Amit.
Saraniyawas has a network of 120 families of maids and people who are dependent on daily wages — none of them have a permanent job to depend on. They are running a campaign for food relief in our community with complete support from the police. Panah India is a grassroots organisation working for migration in India since 2015. They run a single-window solution for citizens in India. Based in Ahmedabad, it runs more than seven centres across the city. They have helped more than 507 families in the Indira Bridge Community including more than 20 widows. With some more financial help, they are planning to open a ration shop for the families in the community.
A number of families in Dhanbad who survive on rag-picking, begging and daily wages have been affected deeply due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Nand Care Foundation (a not-for-profit managed by youth) is leading the ‘Feed the Ragpickers, Beggars, and Daily Wageworkers' campaign with the aim to help them with a reliable supply of groceries in the absence of employment opportunities. They have mapped close to 200 such families across Dhanbad who need support. Each ration kit will contain products for a family of five for one month. NADE, a national-level non-governmental organisation, that works for unemployed disabled individuals is working with 1,200 such members who are currently on the verge of starvation. They have calculated that by making a minimum donation of just Rs 80, you can feed a family of four for a single day.
The funds poured in fast and in five days, they crossed the Rs 3.5 lakh mark, but Amit feels that the funds have slowed down a tad bit now. "We started the crowdfunding only after the lockdown was imposed. People had already donated to the PM's fund or other government funds by then. We are trying our best to reach out to more people now," he said. "We are planning to work for small business owners after this. They are being equally affected by this crisis," Amit added.