Review Meeting for Migrant Labourers & Daily Wagers Project on 25 August 2020

The PEC team met to review the progress on the Migrant Labourers’ & Daily Wagers’ Project. Our field activists and volunteers, from each of the districts that PEC operates in, gave an update on the work done with migrant labourers and daily wagers in the past few weeks.

The meeting was started off by sharing data on the number of food kits distributed to migrant labourer and daily wager families. Following that, Ranjanben Jadav, Najirbhai Pathan, Kishorebhai Chauhan, Ranjanben Parmar and Wahab Mansuri shared a few case studies of migrant labourers and daily wagers.

The most common observation from all case studies was that a lot of people whose livelihoods depend on earning money on a daily basis, by going door to door to sell their products (such as bangles, vegetables) or provide services (such as cycle repair, singing songs for ceremonies), are the worst affected since the pandemic began. This was mainly due to residential societies denying them entry as they were seen as spreading corona virus. As a result of practically no income, they had to resort to begging for food.

Amidst the distress caused by the pandemic, the children in these families could not receive their education either, because all teaching has shifted online for the time being. With often only one basic mobile phone and poor connectivity, families with multiple children cannot afford to make sure that they can attend all classes online.

Another point of concern that arose was also the lack of hygiene and sanitation in their living conditions. With the onslaught of the monsoon, not only are the temporary living conditions compromised, the access to open toilets increases the threat of contracting disease on top of the already looming corona virus.

While the central and state governments have introduced schemes and made access to rations easier, the benefits are still far from being availed by migrant labourers and daily wagers such as the ones that PEC works with. This is because they do not have enough or any information at all regarding these schemes, or how to register themselves on these schemes. Consequently, PEC also helps them to get registered and access all benefits legislated under the government schemes.

The meeting was concluded by a presentation of certificates to all the field activists and volunteers present, which was followed by a team-building exercise, which helped all the members get to know each other better, and how to develop further in their work.

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