Cash For Livelihood

Cash For Livelihood

Salma and Zareena had struggled financially their entire lives. As if that was not enough – the lockdown worsened their situation and left them struggling to even get basic necessities like food. With financial support from Oxfam India’s Cash Transfer Programme, they now generate their own income, support their families and are independent. 

Zareena Banu is a 70-year-old Delhi resident, who migrated from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. She used to live in Sarai Kale Khan, but after she lost her husband she shifted to Behlolpur. She lives with her two sons—Her elder son (28) is recovering from an injury and is unable to work at the moment, while her younger son (22) helps her with work.

She received Rs 10,000 through our Cash Transfer Programme of Mission Sanjeevani, our COVID-19 response. With this she was able to buy supplies for a small grocery shop and set it up near her home, with help from her younger son.

Lockdown left them without work and no income. They depended on community support for food and other necessities. Before this, she used to work on recycling waste and rag-picking. She says, “I earned about Rs 100-120 per day but this was not consistent. This little amount that I earned was just not enough. I was very troubled and deeply in debt”. With financial support from Oxfam India, she bought grocery supplies and set up her own store. With the store, the family’s financial situation has improved a little.

Salma is a 60-year-old vegetable vendor from Sarai Kale Khan. She lives in a camp near the Sarai Kale Khan bus station and sets up shop in a market near the Nizamuddin railway station. She is a widow, and lives with her 20-year-old son, a person with disability and her 18-year-old daughter. Her son helps her set up the vegetable stall.

In 2021, she received financial support from Oxfam India in the form of Rs 10,000. Before this Salma would struggle to find work, being a person with disability herself. She says, “Nobody wanted to hire me for work”. During lockdown, the family would struggle with the most basic of essentials. There was no work for them and they were totally dependent on community support for food.

This financial aid helped her set up her own vegetable stall where she sells chilies, coriander, ginger and garlic. The first thing she did upon receiving the money was to buy shop supplies and then work on improving her living quarters.

After buying shop supplies, she found a market corner with a lot of footfall. She proudly states, “I captured this area by myself. It took me some time to find it, since it’s a good corner and not yet occupied.” She landed up with her supplies and mats, and placed herself there. She refused to move, even though she faced a lot of harassment from shopkeepers nearby who wanted the place for themselves. They even called the police to harass her – unfortunately for them, and fortunately for Salma–the police took her side. They even ensured that she was to be left alone.

She sets up shop at 4:30 PM every day – she’s in the marketplace by 2:30 PM and it takes her a couple of hours for preparation, with help from her son. She wraps up at 8:30 PM and returns home by 10:30 PM. She’s pleased that she’s able to generate her own income, and can now pay for her everyday necessities. Her savings are not as much as she hoped, but she’s optimistic.

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