Life of a migrant worker is extremely hard. They venture out from their hometown and villages to metro cities solely for better livelihood options and sustaining their families. Md. Jahir Hawari one such migrant worker who came to Mumbai for better income options. Amidst the COVID19 lockdown, he was one of the lakhs of migrant workers stuck in the city. He came to the city in February 2020 from village Karma in Hazaribag district of Jharkhand. He worked at a hotel in Chembur and earned INR 9,500 per month, of which he used to spend INR 1000/- for his survival and rest he used to send to his family in the village. His family consists of his two brothers and their 5 children, parents, and his wife, and his four daughters.
Before coming to Mumbai, he and his family used to work as daily wage agricultural labourers. Poverty forced him to migrate out of his village, leaving his family behind. When COVID19 stuck in Mumbai, his hotel was shut down, and the owner stopped giving him salary. The hotel stopped his food, and he had to resort to his neighbours to provide him food. He called Jharkhand helpline no and was provided with Rs. 2000/- for his survival.
Md. Jahir felt stuck as Coronavirus cases rose in the city. He faced the fear of going hungry, anxiety to be not earning at all, and distance from his family haunted him. During this time, he got to know that migrants have started going back to the states; trains, buses, walking, etc. He did not have money to pay for travel and was unable to understand how to get out of the city.
Save the Children Maharashtra team received the list of more than 5000 migrant workers stuck in Mumbai, and soon a dedicated team was set up. Our teams arranged for the food and as well as travel of these migrant workers. Our team got in touch with a group of alumni from National Law College, Bangalore, as they were arranging for transport and requested them to accommodate some migrants on the flights that they were arranging.
When Jahir got to know about it, he had no questions to ask as he desperately wanted to go home. In a moment, he said yes and provided all the details. In all 3 sets were booked – 2 for migrants from Jamtada and the third Jahir from Hazaribaug.
This was their first-time Jahir sat in a flight, and he was disbelief that it took 2.5 hours to reach Ranchi. Jahir was in tears when our team contacted him after he had reached his hometown. He sent a voice message to our team, expressing his gratitude. He thanked everyone who helped him get back home and was unable to express his feelings of joy. Currently, he is in quarantine in a local school and will soon be able to get back to his children and family.
Jahir journey back home was a collaborative effort of Save the Children with group of alumni from National Law College, Bangalore, and the crew of Air Asia I 5 9183 who flew the 174 passengers back home from Mumbai.