Tuesday 19 May 2020
During lockdown amidst the COVID-19 scenario, people living in Yarpur Masterpada slum of Patna faced acute scarcity of food. The slum located near a railway station in Gardani Bagh, Patna has about 216 households. Almost all these households belong to the most marginalized communities. Most of them earn their living by pulling an automatic rickshaw, street vending, domestic help, and some are engaged as sweepers at Pataliputra Medical College.
Some initial days in the lockdown, a lot of the families were not able to receive food materials due to lack of ration card and eventually had no food to eat.One of our youth champions, Ujala Parween took the issue with the local Ward Councillor over the phone and even approached her by visiting her office. She requested the Councillor to help those families who are in dire necessity of food but do not possess a legal document, a ration card in this case so that they do not starve for food during this lockdown period.
The Ward Councillor did not pay any heed to her appeal, and neither did she take her seriously. Instead, she replied, stating that the concerned department is busy in supporting people (having identity cards) with food distributions amidst lockdown situation. The department also clarified its inability to issue any Ration Cards to those who do not possess the same.
The ignorant behavior of the Ward Councillor did not affect Ujala's indomitable spirit to help her community. She quickly mobilized 20 more women from mothers' group and child resilient protection committee in her community, to influence the Ward Councillor on the same. They went to the Ward Councillor as advocates for their community and pushed her for taking up their applications and help families in need get ration cards.
Two days after this meeting, the Ward Councillor sent a team to Ujala's area and made 50 families fill-up the application form for the issue of ration card. Ujala has constantly been taking up the update on the same from the Councillor's office. Presently, there is no update except that the applications have been submitted to the relevant authorities. While the official documentation to receive a ration card for the 50 families is in process, this braveheart did manage to reach out to Save the Children, to support these families. Without even caring for her own family, she appealed to help families in her community.
As Save the Children, reached out for response during this situation, Ujala ensured peaceful distribution, in collaboration with the local police. Defying scorching heat and sultry conditions, she ensured that everyone from her community received relief while maintaining social distancing. She ensured that everyone covered their face with some cloth in case they do not have a mask. Her support during the distribution reflected another resilient character of our child champion, with whom we have engaged for so long.