Living in Kurumula Sahi in Ganeswarpur village of Gop block in Puri, Odisha, Ranju Bhoi’s life has been full of challenges. Married off as a young girl, Ranju, within ten years of getting married, lost her husband in 2000. Mother of two, she had to take up the responsibility of running the household and bringing up her sons all on her own.
“Life as a single woman hasn’t been easy for me,” recounts Ranju. “My sons were very young when they lost their father. I had to work really hard to make sure that they lead a good life,” she adds. Working as a seasonal daily-wage labourer earning Rs. 200-250 per day, Ranju’s eyes shine with pride as she shares this – “My sons have been my pillars of strength all through. While my elder son (27) works as a tractor driver and stays here with me, the younger one (20) works with a private company in Bhubaneswar”.
Recollecting how they braved the devastating Cyclone Fani that made landfall in the state on May 3, 2019, Ranju shares, “We received the cyclone warning through government officials and the radio. On May 2, along with my son and other villagers, I moved to a nearby school for shelter and stayed there till May 5, only to return home and find all our belongings damaged”.
Following Cyclone Fani, as part of its immediate relief efforts, ActionAid India distributed dry food ration kits to Ranju Bhoi and other affected households in the village. “We received relief items from the government too besides the due amount as my widow pension,” says Ranju. Subsequently, with support from Asian Paints, ActionAid India also distributed hygiene kits in Ganeswarpur, comprising household items such as buckets, mugs, soaps, water purifier tablets, bed sheets, sanitary napkins, tarpaulin sheets and mosquito nets. Also, with support from NTT Data, Ranju was provided support for repairing her house.
“The timely support provided by ActionAid India, Asian Paints and NTT Data was much needed. We deeply value it and thank them for standing by us in our hour of need,” says Ranju.
Following Cyclone Fani, Asian Paints and ActionAid India supported a total of 1,150 households with hygiene kits across 19 villages in Gop, Delanga and Nimapada blocks of Puri district. With support from NTT Data, we helped 130 families with house repair support in the district. Furthermore, with support from Motorola Solutions Foundation, we reached out to 675 households with hygiene kits and 1,500 children with educational kits in Gop, Delanga and Brahmagiri blocks of Puri district and in urban slums of Bhubaneswar. In the month of May itself, with support from Inkfest, we had distributed educational kits to 500 children of affected slum-dwellers in Bhubaneswar. Also, 100 mosquito nets were provided to children living in Arabinada Nagar, Bhubaneswar, with support from some benevolent friends from Mumbai.
Recognizing that emergency situations affect vulnerable communities disproportionately, ActionAid focuses on people living in poverty and exclusion, and amongst them women, children, the elderly and persons with disability. ActionAid works with proven processes of accountability and transparency to all stakeholders, including the communities it serves.