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Survivors Powerfully Respond to Covid-19 Needs In Local Communities

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Survivors Powerfully Respond to Covid-19 Needs In Local Communities

IJM teams across India have responded to the world's largest nationwide lockdown with compassion and rapid action, with released bonded labourers leading the response efforts.

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cross India, IJM teams have responded to the world's largest nationwide lockdown with compassion and rapid action, with released bonded labourers leading the response efforts. Thousands of vulnerable communities across India have been supported and educated on Covid-19, including survivor families in Odisha, Bangalore and Tamil Nadu, stranded migrant labourers in Chennai and women in Mumbai's red-light district.

IJM's teams in Chennai have teamed up with our partners across Tamil Nadu, the Released Bonded Labourer's Association (RBLA) to raise awareness of Covid-19 in survivor communities.

"Wash your hands and feet when you come in from outside! Keep yourself clean. Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth." The sweet girl in this video is explaining how to stop coronavirus from spreading.

Read the full story of these survivor leaders' response efforts here

Thaiyamma continues to be a strong voice in her community today. Once she heard about coronavirus, she started educating her neighbors about how to keep themselves safe. Watch this clip of her (and her kids) in action.

Help us continue to raise up survivor leaders like Pacchiayammal and Thaiyamma

Pacchiayammal, (dressed in orange above) and other survivors of bonded labour, have been leading these educational efforts with the RBLA as well as providing essentials, such as hygiene kits with soap and detergent, to more survivor families.

Nandhini, another RBLA member has been using her skills as a seamstress to make hundreds of masks for those who need them most.

Nandhini had a deep urge to do her part to safeguard widowed, destitute and differently-abled people in her community during the pandemic.

A budding leader with a compassionate heart, she told IJM, “Every time I see people in need or struggling, my heart goes out to them. I want to do my best to help them.”

That was when her husband, Arjunan, a survivor of bonded labour, said calmly:

“You are a tailor, Nandhini. How about stitching masks for them?”
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Seamstress Nandhini makes masks to distribute to widowed, destitute and differently-abled people in her community during the Covid-19 pandemic

Your support can help survivors of bonded labour receive the support they need to thrive, and use their freedom to help others.

IJM's team in Odisha have reached over 5,000 survivors, many of whom are illiterate and live far from cities and towns.

IJM’s team in Odisha State have been reaching over 5,000 survivors to check in with them how they are coping in the global pandemic.

IJM survivors such as Jagdish, have been volunteering at a village-level clinic set up by the government to quarantine COVID-19 patients, and encouraging other survivors to take heed of instructions.

Your support turns lives around. Send rescue to those still trapped in bonded labour.

With the 21-day lockdown in place, reaching rural communities proves difficult - but thanks to the speed of technology - survivors have been educating families through channels such as Whatsapp. The team also worked with a local comedian to create educational videos to share with illiterate communities over WhatsApp; each has already gotten tens of thousands of views.

Songs can easily reach those who are illiterate and unaware of the pandemic.
The lyrics of this song were written by IJM field worker in Odisha, Dipti Manhira, and have been translated from the original Odia language.
"We will make our elderly aware and take care of them. O my brothers… Stay alert my brothers... Only if we stay alert, Corona will leave our country."
Together, we can re-imagine a world after lock-down.
A world where survivors lead the way, advocate freedom for others, and contribute to policy change.
It might sound impossible, but impossible becomes possible when we partner together.

Thank you for making freedom - and justice - possible for these survivors - and join us in lifting them up as they lead the change.

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