We Save For Our Future, But The Tribal Don’t Even Have Any Daily Wages

October 23, 2021

The tribal communities we work with are mostly engaged in fishing and farming.  However, their work is seasonal and they have to keep scouting for work. During the rice season, they usually work for farmers, sometimes they go to the Konkan area to work on mango cultivation; in case they find more lucrative work with a big company, they go to work there. What do they have to leave behind?!! Nothing. It’s usually just two people who can get up and go wherever and whenever required. 


Get us to the finish line of completing a 90-bed hospital for Government of Karnataka

Swasti is setting up a 90 bed modular hospital within the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, which will function as part of the existing Institute. This facility will be used for care provision for COVID in the coming year and in future will provide care for people who come to this facility; it is right next to 2 other Govt. hospitals (NIMHANS and Sanjay Gandhi Trauma Centre)

Collaborative action is the only way out to at least ensure food for the people

At the moment, they hardly have food to eat, so food packages for tribal are a priority. Last year, we supported more than 1000 families in the Raigarh district. This year, we plan to support 1200 tribal families in Satara and 1500 families in Raigarh. Female sex workers was never a focus area for us, but with the pandemic, they are out of work. So we are planning to find an organization focused on them to support them. Many organizations are coming together to do collective work in specific areas. We have confirmed contracts with AI, Swedish Chamber of Commerce, Atlas Corp, for relief-related work which covers food grains. We are also working with sister organizations to provide immunity-boosting foods to quarantine centers, in collaboration with Mariwala Health Initiative. 

Reaching the community remains a challenge

Working quickly on the ground in an emergency like COVID continues to remain our major challenge because there is restriction on movement in these areas. For instance, a staff members’ bike was taken into police custody when they were out to do relief work.  NGOs aren’t authorized in emergency services. We should ideally have permissions for movements to reach target beneficiaries on ground. Our classification as frontline workers can help facilitate our movement.  We also have to take care of ourselves when we go into the community because the risk is higher this time. We are trying to get the entire team vaccinated. Once that happens, it will give them confidence that the disease will have a lesser impact. Even among beneficiaries, there is vaccine hesitancy and a lot of confusion, especially after the government’s announcement about the Covishield gap. ‘What if I miss the second dose?’ There are many misconceptions around vaccines which also need to be clarified to spread awareness.   

(as told by Ramchandra Kolekar of SJSM to Soumita Basu & Rini Sinha, #COVIDActionCollab)

SJSM (Shrmajivi Janata Sahayyak Mandal) works with over 2.5 lakh people from the rural communities of Satara and Raigad district. Their work focuses on sustainable livelihood, agriculture, soil and water conservation, natural resource management and women empowerment. SJSM is a COVIDActionCollab partner and more about their work can be found here :

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COVIDActionCollab is not merely an aggregation of partners, but is an aggregation of capacities, through which we have developed key high impact initiatives. We have drawn upon our one year’s experience at CAC and engagement with our large constituency of partners to put together a menu of initiatives for funders/investors to support which will save lives and livelihoods, and enable vulnerable communities to 'bounce forward’. Support these initiatives to build resilient communities