Cash Support Helps Restart Business

Cash Support Helps Restart Business

Gitanjali Kandi ran a small petty shop, on the footpath, selling fried groundnuts to tourists just outside of the Konark Sun Temple. Her income is supplemented by the her husband, Narendra’s daily wage earnings. Despite being unlettered and with meagre incomes, the two  are investing heavily in the education of their children. The daughter is in class 12th, while the son is preparing for class 10th.

In normal circumstances making ends meet was difficult but the COVID-19 made the situation worse. The Sun Temple, a major tourist site in India, was shut due to the lockdown and Gitanjali had to shut her shop due to COVID-19 regulations. Narendra, too, stopped getting work. Their savings started drying up; the family exhausted all the capital that Gitanjali had saved from her shop. Their only source of sustenance were the government handouts—ration, basically. Money was still difficult to come by.

Oxfam India has been responding to the COVID-19 crisis in 14 states. In Odisha, the responses included distribution of dry rations to the most marginalised as well as hot cooked food to the migrant workers walking back home, walking through the state. Along with SOLAR, a Puri-based NGO, Oxfam India provided cash of Rs 5000 to the most marginalised and distressed families. Gitanjali’s was one of the 450 families that Oxfam India reached out to with the support of Give India Foundation.

The Rs 5000, though a small amount, helped Gitanjali to start her shop again. She bought raw groundnut with the money and started processing  it for sale. She also bought masks and sanitiser to comply with the lockdown rules.  Since the Konark Sun temple remains closed for tourists, Gitanjali started selling packed, fried groundnut to other small shops in the villages and houses in the neighbouring areas of the Konark Sun temple.

“The income is less than what we were earning before we had to shut shop but at least we have started earning something now,” said Gitanjali, thanking for the cash support.

Inputs and Photographs by: Chittaranjan Parida,SOLAR 

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