An Urgent Appeal from the slums of Kolkata

The scenes of suffering in India are difficult to digest. Despite allegations of under-reporting, at the time of writing (07.05.21), India’s Coronavirus infections had reached at 21.5 million. A further 414, 188 people had tested positive for Covid-19 in a single day, and the total number of deaths stood at 234,000. 

 

Behind these statistics are the human faces of sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters.

 

Hospitals are overwhelmed. Health workers are exhausted. There are no more hospital beds. There are widespread shortages of oxygen, medicines and vaccines. The sick are lying in corridors and in the streets outside hospitals as they wait to see doctors. Many are dying before they receive medical care. Crematoriums are overflowing. And all the while, case numbers continue to rise, fuelled by a new variant.

 

Against this backdrop, our Adopted Charity EkTara who work in the slums of Kolkata, describe the situation on the ground as apocalyptic. Ek Tara is a registered Indian charity, established in 2015 to work in two of Kolkata’s largest slum communities. 

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They currently work with 1,300 girls, and their families. Their beneficiaries are migrant communities, daily wage earners, large families living in one room tenements on the fringe of society, in what Ek Tara describe as “abysmal unhygienic surroundings”. 

 

The Covid 19 pandemic coupled with the loss of work for labourers in the informal sector has resulted in severe deterioration of health, nutrition and the development of children. 

 

  • For many, basic water, sanitation and hygiene facilities remain out of reach, further aggravating the situation.

  • Marginalised children pay a heavier price as their education is interrupted and inequalities in learning widen. 

  • Children risk being abandoned, facing violence, exploitation and abuse on a daily basis. 

 

EkTara have set up a series of emergency response programmes to support these extremely vulnerable communities. They need to raise £50,000 to support their efforts.

 

Their emergency response programmes include:

  1. Partnering with local doctors to provide health and sanitation kits to 700 extremely vulnerable families living in the slums of Kolkata. Kits will consist of medicines, oximeters, thermometers, immune boosting supplements, paracetamol, hand sanitizer and K95 masks. 

  2. Distributing digital devices to 150 vulnerable children to enable them to continue their education online.

  3. Setting up an emergency Day Care Centre to provide a secure environment for victims of abuse, whose situation is further exacerbated by the lockdown.

  4. Launching tele-counselling services for children experiencing or vulnerable to abuse, and their families.

  5. Launching a mass education and awareness campaign highlighting Covid 19 safety protocols and the importance of vaccination. Educational material is being shared both digitally (wassap videos) and in print (through a specially produced written handbook). 

  6. Providing remote learning to children who remain out of school during the ongoing lockdown.

  7. Providing a lunch programme to vulnerable children.

 

Please help them, by donating whatever you can, to support their emergency efforts.

 

Please contact anna-louisa.psarras@prosperoworld.org if you would like further details about Ek Tara’s work or  about a specific programme area.

£25

To provide a health and hygiene kit for a family. Kits include an oximeter, thermometer, medicines, hand sanitizer and K95 masks.

£50

To provide 10 children with remote learning and support for one month.

£100

To provide nutritional supplements to 15 children for 1 month.

£250

To provide counselling to 50 children experiencing or vulnerable to abuse, and their families, for one month.

£500

To provide a lunch programme to 200 hungry and at risk children for a month.

£1,000

To support the creation, publication and distribution of an illustrated, educational Covid-19 handbook for children.