Oxfam India in 2022: 10 People 10 Stories

Oxfam India in 2022: 10 People 10 Stories

We started 2022 on a difficult note. Our FCRA licence renewal application was declined. With our funds severely crunched, our ability to provide relief and support to people in vulnerable communities across the country was severely impacted.

But we did not stop.

Despite restricted resources, we continued to transform and rebuild lives through our humanitarian response and our work with some of the most marginalised communities across the country. This was made possible because of everyone who believed in us—our supporters and our donors.

We reached nearly 337,000 people in 2022

  • 315,000 flood-affected people in Assam
  • 3099 ASHA workers
  • 1166 children through 51 Mohalla Classes
  • 9260 women farmers
  • 904 survivors of domestic violence
  • 7560 sugarcane cutters and farmers

We bring you the stories of 10 people whose lives we changed this year and through that work lives of thousands others.

Shankari Biswas

For Shankari and others in Mahadevpur (Ward 3), a village in Cachar district in Assam, availability of clean drinking water was a huge concern once the flood water receded. The PHED was yet to supply water. Oxfam India set up the AP 700 water filter unit in their village. Shankari and her husband were trained to run the filter unit. Over 45 families received clean drinking water in her village. “We operate the machine twice in a day when people can collect water. We even sent the filter to Mahadevpur 2 for a few days as they were facing problems too. This water filter was very essential for us”.   

The Assam floods killed hundreds and affected nearly 45 lakh people. For the five months we were on the ground, we provided food, safety, hygiene, and shelter kits; built gender segregated toilets; set up water filter units; distributed water purification and ORS sachets; and conducted training on public health and menstrual health and hygiene.

We reached 315,000 people in Cachar, Hojai and Karimganj districts.

60,500 people provided with clean drinking water

3160 Hygiene Kits distributed

2160 Shelter Kits distributed

158,680 water purification tablets distributed

13,868 ORS sachets distributed

Santoshi Sahu

The government only provided us with two masks. We had to report on the health of the quarantined migrants, but we lacked even a thermometer to measure fever,” said Santoshi Sahu, Mitanin (ASHA worker) from Chattisgarh. In rural areas, across the country, the ASHAs were the first line of defence against COVID-19. While they were expected to be on the ground, they had no safety kit to protect themselves. Neither did they have basic testing kits. 

Through Mission Sanjeevani, in 2022, we distributed testing and safety kits to 3099 ASHAs across the country. Since 2021, we have reached nearly 70,000 ASHAs across 11 states. The kit included disposable masks, an infrared thermometer, gloves, an apron, liquid soaps, and sanitisers. Santoshi and many like her feel safer. “We now carry a sanitiser with us all the time and have extra masks to distribute to people who don’t have any. This at least ensures our own physical protection".

Remya Molvs

At the peak of the crises, Remya started serving long shifts at work, and her son was being taken care of by the house help. The hospital’s small premises were adequate for normal times but was not even close to having the oxygen reserves that were necessary during the pandemic's peak. “They arrived, but we knew the trouble taken to procure them, and in many cases NGOs also helped. Every small bit was a boon for those affected.” Remya is a nurse at Gosaba Rural Hospital, West Bengal. 

This was the story of rural and urban healthcare systems across the country. Through Mission Sanjeevani, Oxfam India equipped hospitals with life-saving medical and diagnostic equipment such as oxygen cylinders, BiPAP machines and ICU beds. In 2022, we reached 14 hospitals; since April 2021 we delivered to nearly 500 healthcare facilities—district hospitals, PHCs, and CHCs.


Kalahandi’s Nirupama is a survivor of domestic violence. She approached the Bijayani Women Support Centre in Kalahandi. She was counselled and encouraged to file a police report against her husband. He was summoned and ordered to pay maintenance for Nirupama and her children. When he stopped paying after two months, the counsellors at the Centre referred her to the Women's Commission. The Commission assisted her in submitting a petition to the family court so that she could seek the maintenance that she was entitled to. She now receives Rs 7,000 per month.

Nirupama was finally able to get out of an abusive relationship. In 2022, 904 women received support through these centres.

Bati Hantal

Sixty-five-year-old Bati Hantal from Koraput’s Mali Gunja village grew vegetables, millet, and oilseeds on her 1.5-acre farm. But she wanted to do more. Oxfam India works with small and marginal tribal women farmers in 40 villages in Koraput, Odisha, creating farmer producer groups. These groups receive input, technical assistance, orientation on agricultural schemes, and training. It also helps women access government schemes.

Bati developed her land through the MGNREGS and expanded her vegetable cultivation. She now plans to convert a barren patch of her land into a garden.

Like her, other women farmers have been able to improve their incomes through vegetable cultivation and linkages with government schemes. We worked with 9260 women farmers in Odisha and Bihar.


Shanu from Haswa Bazaar (Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh) had never been to school. Instead, the 11-year-old worked at his uncle’s samosa shop. In fact, no child from his village had been to school. Oxfam India then set up a Mohalla Class in Haswa Bazaar and community mobilisers counselled parents to send their children to school. Just a couple of months in the Mohalla Class and children could draw, read, write, and recite alphabets and multiplication tables. Shanu, who couldn't draw a straight line, is now enrolled in class 5 at Haswa-I Composite Vidyalaya.

Through the Mohalla Classes, Oxfam India ensured that nearly 1200 children did not end up as school dropouts. We enrolled 1081 children in schools once they reopened after the pandemic. 


With schools closed for nearly two years due to the pandemic and digital education becoming the new normal, children from marginalised communities were at risk of dropping out. We started Mohalla Classes, run by trained volunteers and community mobilisers. Firdous was one of our community mobilisers.

Worried that children in Ghosiya Colony, Mehrauli, were not able to attend classes, Firdous decided to do something. She surveyed 150–200 people in the colony, identified students at risk of dropping out, looked for a venue to run classes, and failing that, she converted one room in her house for Mohalla Classes. With support from us for classroom supplies, Firdous donned the role of a teacher. Her class had 30 to 35 students. Even though schools have reopened, students continue to attend Firdous's classes.

Anita Devi

Anita, a dalit and a small sugarcane farmer, is entirely dependent on the cash crop. After her husband’s demise in 2021, she and her two teenaged sons faced a lot of difficulties. She continued working in the field but was totally unaware of the social security schemes such as the National Family Benefit Scheme and the Widow Pension Scheme. Though eligible she hadn’t applied for them. Oxfam India helped her and many like her access these schemes.

In UP, we surveyed 6500 small sugarcane farmers from 60 villages in three districts to understand their access to social protection schemes.Oxfam India worked with these farmers so they could access schemes such as MGNREGA, e-Shram, PDS, Widow Pension, and Ayushman Bharat. On the other hand, the Maharashtra government had issued a government resolution earlier in the year on health camps for migrating cane cutters, but no action was taken. After rigorous advocacy with the health department and the community (cane cutters wrote to the health officers), a health camp was organised in Bhosga village in Osmanabad district, where the emphasis was on the health of women and children.

Neha Kumari and Sambuja Devi

Sitamarhi’s Neha Kumari and Nalanda’s Sambuja Devi had a common problem—light, or rather the lack of it. While Neha attended school, she was unable to study at night due to frequent power outages in her village, Dharmpur. Sambuja Devi was worried about livestock theft and would have to always rush back home before sundown. There were no streetlights.

The solution: Oxfam India, through Project Utthan, provided a solution for the likes of Neha and Sambuja. It provided solar lamps and solar street lights in 30 villages in Nalanda and Sitamarhi districts. 1456 solar lamps were distributed in 700 households—one for students and one for household purposes. 310 solar-powered street lamps were set up at strategic places in the village, preventing livestock theft and improving women’s safety.

About Us: 

Oxfam India (OIN) is a movement of people working to end discrimination and create a free and just society. We work to ensure that Adivasis, Dalits, Muslims, women, girls, and informal sector workers have violence free lives with freedom to speak their minds, equal opportunities to realise their rights, and a discrimination free future. We research to find lasting solutions to end rising inequalities and the exclusion of marginalized communities from getting decent jobs, quality free education, and healthcare. We campaign with the public to demand policy changes from governments for creating a just and inclusive country as envisioned in the Indian Constitution. We mobilise support to save, protect, and rebuild the lives of the poorest of the poor affected by crises and humanitarian disasters.

Oxfam has been in India since 1951. It first came to India to respond to the Bihar famine. In 2008, Oxfam India became an independent affiliate and an Indian NGO. Oxfam India is an autonomous Indian organisation and has staff and board members from within India. Oxfam India is a member of the global confederation of 21 Oxfams across the world. The Government of India has registered Oxfam India as a non-profit organisation under Section 8 of the Indian Companies Act, 2013. (www.oxfamindia.org)

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