A Helping Hand

A Helping Hand

Vilasben Hamirbhai Solanki – Nat (42) is a migrant worker, from Lakhtar Taluka in Gujarat’s Surendranagar district; she lives in a rented room with her husband and three daughters in Makarba, Vejalpur. While she works as a domestic help in four houses in the neighbourhood, her husband is a casual labour working at local construction sites on electrical and plumbing jobs.

At the onset of the COVID–19 lockdown Vilasben lost her domestic work. Her husband too was not allowed to work at the construction site. Many families from their community had already returned to their native villages, as surviving in Ahmedabad at that time was very difficult. Vilasben’s husband managed to scrape up some money which enabled them to travel to their native place; there he managed to find casual labour work and sustain the family through those days of extreme crisis.

As the country began to unlock, they returned to Ahmedabad in order to earn a decent living. While the husband managed to resume work, she is yet to resume her work as domestic help. In order to make ends meet she started working with her husband as a casual labourer at construction sites.

“No one else came to our aid since the first lockdown. Amidst our ongoing struggles, as soon as we returned from our native village, yours has been the only support we have received through this crisis,” she says.

Oxfam India along with HCL Foundation distributed 1000 ration and hygiene kits to 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 of five for at least a fortnight as well as hygiene products such as sanitary pads, sanitiser and soap.

“The kit I received from Oxfam India has been a ray of hope for my family. The ration items in the kit provided us with meals for 12 days, and our daughters were very happy that I prepared a delicious soya bean dish for them twice. My elder daughter has been using sanitary pads for the first time in her life. My family and I are grateful for your help.”

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