A weekly COVID-19 update from Shadhika's partners and the young women we support in India.
Covid-19: Social Distancing
By Gillian Ford, Marketing Manager
April 7, 2020
What does it really mean to “social-distance” in India, a country with more than 1 billion residents? This week, we asked the young women of Shadhika and our partner sites about their experiences social distancing under lockdown.
From the Field
A typically crowded and energetic place, the community of Bowbazar in Bengal, where our partner site Jabala works, is vacant as everyone is forced inside. Pranjuckta, a Making HERstory intern, reported today that several cases of Covid-19 were confirmed and the area was sealed. Entrances to the community have been gated and are being patrolled by police. Everyone has been instructed to stay at home – unless they have a medical emergency – and wait for the authorities to sanitize the area. She says: “We do not know when the community will be re-opened. It is a scary time.”
We are working with the leadership at Jabala to understand the full scope of the community closure and will update this story as it progresses.
News from India
This week, Soutik Biswas with BBC News reported on India’s lockdown, calling it “unprecedented” for the country. Social distancing is an enormous predicament for many of the young women supported by Shadhika, who as of last week, are required to “shelter in place” with their families. Confinement to home, which amounts to 8 sq. ft. in most cases, would be hard enough. It will become even more difficult as India heads into the monsoon season and temperatures increase.
Read the BBC News article here.
Together, our partner sites are providing over 1,000 families across India with emergency relief kits in Shadhika supported communities. These kits will supply the young women of Shadhika and their families with food and hygiene essentials, including items such as: flour, rice or lentils, oil, potatoes, onions, salt, soap, sugar, and tea leaves.
*Organizations in India wishing to become Shadhika partners can fill out our interest form here.
With resource scarcity on the rise around the world, the young women of Shadhika are responding with ingenuity and creativity. Here, Vidya – a Shadhika Alumna living in Bangalore – shares her take on a face mask made from repurposed materials. The CDC now recommends wearing a mask, in addition to maintaining 6 feet of social distancing, “especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”
Domestic Violence on the Rise
With the country-wide lockdown ongoing in India, the stress of families inhabiting tiny living spaces for days on end is immense. Most day laborers have lost their jobs. Children are out of school. Food resources are minimal. The current circumstances are fraught with tension and experts are projecting a rise in domestic violence cases as a result. Suyashi Smridhi with Feminism in India reports on the risks of domestic violence during the pandemic.
Read the article here.
Shadhika Scholar: Tajdina
Tajdina is a Shadhika Scholar with partner site, Jabala, lives in the community of Murshidabad. She shares: “For me and my family, we are staying in home. My father has to go to outside sometimes for necessary purposes like for food. But we are trying our best not to go outside.”
Want to learn how social distancing during the pandemic is impacting other communities around the globe? Explore stories from our partners at the Posner Center for International Development:
- Africa’s Tomorrow, working in rural Africa
- AfricAid, working in Tanzania
- Global Seed Savers, working in Phillipines
- Into Your Hands Africa, working in Uganda