The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic saw our teams on the ground and responding, as was the case during the earlier two waves. Together with community-based volunteers, social organisations, supporters and the local administration, we continued to run sensitisation drives across the country on the need to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour and get vaccinated. Our teams are working to address vaccine hesitancy among communities and are helping bust related myths. Teams used vans, bullock carts and even boats to spread the message. Community radio stations played jingles to maximise the reach of messaging. The content was made in local dialects and using popular modes of communication. In January 2022, The Government announced COVID vaccination for 15-18 year-olds. Our teams and volunteers began motivating and facilitating adolescents in this age group to get their jab too. We are delighted to share that our efforts in Palamu, Jharkhand, in response to the pandemic, also received recognition on the occasion of Republic Day.
As part of our continued efforts to strengthen public health infrastructure, we recently handed over some more oxygen concentrators and other medical equipment to hospitals and health centres. In the aftermath of the second wave of the pandemic, our teams had played an instrumental role in setting up COVID Care Centres across several districts. Responding to the third wave, our state teams immediately started visiting these centres and healthcare institutions to follow up on medical equipment and the overall preparedness to deal with any emergent situation. We are also reaching out with dry rations to families worst hit by livelihood and income loss and enabled access to government entitlements, besides helping them rebuild their livelihoods.
Across several states, we have been supporting women who lost their husbands and children who lost their parent(s) amid the pandemic. In Odisha, in coordination with the district administration, we are facilitating the Issuance of a death certificate to the survivor (wife) whose spouse died due to COVID, in addition to food and financial support to the survivor. We have also enabled access to social security schemes and skill-building for livelihoods. We helped link more than 6,400 children from 15 districts of Odisha who had lost one parent with the state government’s Ashirbad Scheme (April-September 2021). Under this scheme, Rs. 1,500 per month is provided to children as educational support until they reach 18 years. In West Bengal, our teams across six districts helped register the most marginalised, including COVID widows and their children, under the state’s Duare Sarkar initiative. The scheme enables families to access benefits, including cash transfer for livelihood and sponsorship for education.
Across seven districts of Jharkhand, we enabled 69 children who lost their father to secure a government sponsorship of Rs. 2,000 a month. This amount provides educational and nutritional support for three years. In addition, we helped 44 adolescent girls who lost their father to access skill-building. In Uttar Pradesh, under our Nai Pahal programme, run in collaboration with UNICEF, we are getting out-of-school children across 20 districts enrolled in schools; this includes children who have lost one or both of their parents. Our local teams are also facilitating their linkage with the state government’s Bal Seva Yojana, under which such children get Rs. 4,000 per month. Besides, amid heightened risks of child labour and early marriage during the pandemic, our teams across the country are working towards strengthening child protection mechanisms and facilitating continued learning for children from excluded communities.
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