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How Kerala Is Coping Up With The Lockdown

In Kerala's capital Thiruvananthapuram, 21-year-old Vikram Rajwar is setting fire to the wood. He is hardly left with any cash since just days before the lockdown he sent his little savings of 3000 rupees to his elderly parents in Assam. 45-year-old Shambunath Chauhan and few others join him and start chopping up vegetables - potatoes, pumpkins and onions.Sambar is already ready. But meals weren't this hearty for almost 10 days since the lockdown for them. They lost their daily wages since no jobs were there. In their rented house with two rooms, around 10 migrant labourers from Assam live together.​

For a few days,  local people here gave us some rice after finding out that we didn't have much to eat, Shambunath Chauhan says.​​​

It's been very difficult after the lockdown. No money, no work, can't go home, no transport, Vikram Rajwar, added.

​It was Suneetha, a local resident of the area who identified this unreached group of labourers in her locality and with the help of Oxfam and their Local partner NGO RIGHTS in Thiruvananthapuram, ensured these labourers were given raw food kits for 10 days. But with the lockdown, the challenge was to get the kits right to their doorsteps.​

"These are basic food items. Rice, onions, potatoes, spices and then soaps,washing powders. Roughly amounting to Rs 6000. I managed to find a vendor with great difficulty and explained the situation being faced. They agreed....We did transaction through bank account and they delivered it to these people," said Suneetha who is working with RIGHTS, Oxfam's partner NGO in Thiruvananthapuram.​

Finally, as they sit together,  they serve themselves on their plates. Away from their families in these hard times, these migrant workers, for now, have one thing less to worry about...and that is food!​

"This is very important for us. If this is not there, how will we survive? All this is very important for us. Suneetha madam met us, helped us. We gave our voter ID cards and they have come forward to help us", one of the migrant workers explained.​

Oxfam in Thiruvananthapuram alone is supporting around 100 migrant labourers and 1500 migrant workers across Kerala by providing them essential food items in these tough times.​​

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