Delivering Hope and Dignity to Refugees

Delivering Hope and Dignity to Refugees

Scattered shelters made of wooden beams and tarpaulin sheets have become a usual sight in the midst of the open forest area under the Signature Bridge on the fringes of Delhi. These temporary shelters are what hundreds of Hindu refugees from Pakistan call home. The families migrated to India with hopes of a better future. But that future remains elusive. With no electricity, clean water or sanitation facilities, the refugees live in extremely unhygienic conditions. Fear of wild animals and problems posed by mosquitoes are among a long list of their struggles.

Most of the refugees work as labourers or hawkers to make ends meet. But COVID-19 lockdown has left them without the meagre income they earned before, making their living conditions even worse.

Humanitarian Aid International (HAI), a Delhi-based NGO has been working closely with the refugees here since 2019. They have set medical camps, run remedial classes for children, and held skills training for women to help them earn an income.

26 year old Reshma, a leading member of the Signature Bridge Camp Self-Help Group (SHG) is an active member of HAIs skill training program. Her husband started a micro business of manufacturing and selling bottles of phenyl which earned them Rs. 7000 to 8000 per month. But after the lockdown in March 2020, their business fell apart and the family exhausted their savings.

Oxfam India has been supporting communities worst affected by the pandemic, across India, for over a year now. At the heart of our response are communities already living on the margins such as daily wage workers, transgender communities, informal sector workers and differently abled people.

We partnered with HAI to extend our support to the refugees living here and help cope with the pandemic with dignity. We provided ration and safety kits to over 200 refugee families living in the camps under Signature Bridge and Majnu ka Tila. The ration kits consist of cooking oil, spices, pulses, wheat, tea and sugar and will feed a family of five for about a month. The safety kits, containing masks and sanitizers, are designed to help people stay safe from coronavirus. We also installed a hand washing station for the residents in the Signature Bridge camp.

The food kit has been a saviour because of the current situation with no income to even afford ration for the family,” says Reshma with hope gleaming in her eyes. The ration kit brought much needed relief to the families living here, including Reshmas.

Since March 2020, Oxfam India has provided food support to nearly half million people. During the devastating second wave of the pandemic, we supplied vital medical supplies to hospitals and COVID-19 care centres. As the pandemic now penetrates rural India, we are equipping ASHA workers to deliver healthcare to rural communities.

Learn more about our response here: https://www.oxfamindia.org/coronavirus


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