What are the specific projects that have been funded through this initiative?
After extensive reaching out to civil society networks, labour unions, and state officers operating on the ground to understand the most urgent need, the collected funds have been directed towards the following projects:
- In collaboration with Jai Bhim Vikas Seva Sanstha, we have facilitated the travel of 9 migrant worker families (employed in a brick kiln) of 20 adults and 25 children from Bhilwara district, Rajasthan, to Chitrakoot, Uttar Pradesh. Due to the lockdown, the brick kiln these workers were employed at was closed and they were left stranded with little money and no shelter, water and basic amenities and had commenced a journey by foot. The total allocation for this project is INR 1.2 lakhs, which will cover travel, food, cash transfer for immediate needs (INR 1000 per person) and rations to sustain the workers when they get home.
- In collaboration with Loving Migrant Workers Network and Samerth Charitable Trust, we are arranging for the flight travel of 174 workers and their children from Bengaluru to Raipur. Together with our partners, we will finance their journey home and provide a cash transfer of Rs.1000 each for immediate relief. We will also provide other logistical support through partner organisations, including pick up/drop off to the airport, food, water, protective gear and ration kits. INR 16 lakhs will be spent on this project.
- In partnership with Goonj, we facilitated the home-bound return of 22 migrant workers from Jharkhand who were stranded in Aloor, Kerala. We are facilitating their journey from Aloor to Bokaro, Jharkhand by a Shramik train. Ground-level volunteers ensured they reached the screening centre, provided them with meals, besides bread, biscuits and water bottles (provided by Goonj) and are presently ensuring that they receive regular meals along their journey.
- When it was discovered that migrant workers and their children on a train from Bengaluru to Nagpur were travelling without food, our volunteers at Secunderabad liaised with the Centre for Social Justice, to provide food to the passengers at the Secunderabad station.
How can I contribute money?
I. Direct Transfers
HDFC Bank, Kalkaji branch
Account No.: 50200032993609
II. Contribute through our campaign listed on Milaap:
Do you take any proportion of the money for organising these efforts?
No, we do not take any proportion of the funds raised. The entirety of the amount is used towards relief for migrant workers. Details on the relief efforts we have supported so far are available here.
Who is collaborating with NALSAR students and alumni as part of this initiative?
NB: Note that this list of collaborators is constantly updated. This response was last updated at 5 10pm on Monday, 1st June 2020.
We are collaborating with Foodshaala Foundation to receive donations from Indian bank accounts. Foodshaala Foundation is a section 8 company, co-founded by a NALSAR alumna, Raadhika Gupta, from the 2006-11 batch. Foodshaala’s vision is to ensure a world where everyone is able to make healthy food a part of their life. Their mission is to enable people to choose and access healthy food. Towards this mission, Foodshaala sets up community kitchens where local women are trained to prepare healthy meals. Through these kitchens, Foodshaala provides access to affordable healthy food to children from low-income families. They also conduct behaviour change workshops on food and nutrition for children and their parents. During the current COVID-19 crisis, Foodshaala has been working with the Delhi government to provide milk and nutrition packets to children and migrant workers.
To know more, please see their social media accounts:
- Samerth Charitable Trust
- Loving Migrant Workers Network
- Centre for Social Justice
- Jai Bhim Vikas Seva Sanstha
- Migrant Travel Support Network
- National Hawkers Federation
Are donations eligible for an 80G tax exemption?
<h3 class="font_3">Yes. Please fill this form if you are making a bank transfer and/or if you seek an 80G certificate.</h3>
Why have you opted to fund flights rather than relying on cheaper alternatives, such as buses or trains?
<h3 class="font_3">We did this for many reasons: </h3>
Firstly, migrant workers have faced starvation, risk of spread of disease and in many deeply distressing situations have died from trying to undertake long journeys from far off states back to their home state. Many vulnerable workers such as elderly people, injured people, people with disabilities, pregnant women and their young children are put in life threatening situations when trying to undertake long travel by foot or in buses and trains.
Secondly, we were alerted to the need to avoid long periods of exposure to large crowds of people in the face of rising COVID-19 cases, uncertain access to food and exhaustion from travel over 2-3 days. These risks are even more precarious given that many migrant workers had already been living without adequate food, water and accommodation support for many days by the time this initiative took off.
Thirdly, civil society organisations and independent verification with transport companies showed that the cost per person for bus travel and air travel was very similar, due to the hike in costs of hiring buses over several days for road transport in the present situation.
Fourth, inter-state travel requires us to seek regulatory permissions from a range of state governments in case of railway or bus travel which is not always possible and also causes further delays to stranded migrant workers.
That said, for shorter routes, we continue to arrange for buses, or provide food support on trains organised by the state or central government.
Finally, we strongly believe in the equal dignity and respect for migrant workers as members of our shared community. We see the current COVID-19 crisis as augmenting an already unconscionable disregard for the fundamental rights of migrant workers to equality, due wages, social security, bodily autonomy,health and livelihood. We understand that our intervention is limited, but we hope to start a conversation on the urgent need to acknowledge and correct the status quo that subordinates the lives of the people who are the backbone of our cities, homes and businesses.
How do you identify which migrants to support?
<h3 class="font_3">We are partnering with civil society organisations in order to identify and verify which migrant workers need support, and of what kind.</h3>
Do you keep in touch with migrants once they have reached their home state? How do you ensure they reach home safely?
We are liaising with civil society organisations as well as relevant government officials to do our best to ensure that the needs of migrant workers (including immediate cash assistance, health check ups, etc.) are met in their home states as well. We will collect the phone numbers or contact details of the workers whose travel we facilitate and will call them periodically to check on them when they reach their destination.
I have heard that many migrant workers do not want to go back to their home states because of mandatory institutionalised quarantines or poor employment prospects. What happens where migrant workers do not want to go back home?
We have only provided travel assistance to migrant workers who wish to go back to their home states. We are reliant on our partner organisations to assess the needs of our beneficiaries.
Why do you need to provide travel support when the government is already providing this and the Supreme Court has mandated that such support be made available to all those who need it?
Governments are doing the best they can with the limited resources they have at their disposal. We are doing this to add to the government’s efforts to ease the suffering of migrant workers as quickly as possible.
I am a NALSAR alumnus. How do I get involved?
If you’d like to volunteer with us please fill in this form.
How can I contact for more information?
If you have any questions you can contact us via our the form on our Reach Us page.
For urgent queries, you can contact volunteers at the following numbers: Rupali (9818643731); Rakshanda (9177479968) Raji (9704847263); Srishti (8744049255) and Shreejoyee (97488 78020).
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Alongside the overwhelming response to our call for funds, we've also received some important questions about the work we are doing.
Please see below to find answers to the questions we've been asked the most about our initiative ‘NALSAR for Migrant Workers’.