The First Ray of Hope

The First Ray of Hope

Mehmudaben Mushabhai Patel, 38 year old, lives in the Juhapura area of Ahmedabad with her husband, two daughters, a son and her mother-in-law. Mehmudaben is a housewife. Her husband works in a nearby garage and earns between Rs 12,000 to 15,000 a month. Mehmudaben’s husband’s garage work was the only source of income for this family of six, so when he lost his job for two months during the COVID-19 induced lockdown, the family were up against a critical time of struggle and survival. During the first 15 days of lockdown they somehow managed to meet basic household needs but soon they ran out of cash and ration.

Cornered, Mehmudaben and her husband travelled to their native village with the family to get by. They returned to their home in Ahmedabad only after the lockdown was lifted and immediately set about looking for work. Though their income has shrunk, owing to dismal business in general, Mehmudaben is grateful that her husband has now resumed work at the same garage and they are able to provide food and shelter for their family.

“Post lockdown, when we returned to our home in the big city, there was neither food in our kitchen nor any money to stock up. At this juncture we received a ration kit from Oxfam India, that rendered us tension free, as the food items you provided helped nourish our family for the next 25 days,” she said.   

Oxfam India along with HCL Foundation distributed ration and hygiene kits to 1000 women migrant workers from some of the most marginalised communities especially dalits and adivasis, in Ahmedabad. This was directly implemented by Oxfam India with the help of an all-women’s distribution team. The kit includes ration for a family to last for 25-30 days as well as hygiene products such as sanitary pads, sanitiser and soap.

“As soon as we brought the food kit home, using some of the rice and lentils, I was delighted to rustle up khichdi — a family favourite. The sanitary pads are helpful for my two daughters, as we cannot afford such purchases in the present crisis. Especially since my husband has resumed work and has to step out of the house often, the sanitiser in the kit has been very helpful. Your support was the first we received during this COVID-19 crisis, and our family has ever since drawn comfort and strength in knowing that we are not alone—help is always just around the corner! For this, we are very thankful to Oxfam India,” she signs off.

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