COVID19 | Blossom Trust Response
COVID-19 is threatening food security, health and wellbeing, and income generation across India. In response, Blossom Trust is implementing projects to mitigate these risks.
COVID-19 is now a sweeping global pandemic, with serious impacts in affected countries. In India, an ongoing lockdown has been implemented to keep the communities and populations safe. Unfortunately, this restriction on mobility is having knock-on repercussions for the livelihoods of the poorest social strata.
Community welfare is being economically and logistically challenged. COVID-19 has caused disruptions in the supply chain, so food availability in rural areas is decreasing and prices are soaring, causing widespread food insecurity. With further disruptions to agricultural activity, there is no guarantee that food security will resume when lockdown ends. Moreover, enforced cessation of work leaves daily wage earners with no source of income, and with no savings or financial buffer to buy food or medication. As such, beyond the threat of COVID-19, families are now at high risk of under-nutrition and ill health.
Many of the beneficiaries that Blossom works with also have existing health concerns: individuals with HIV/AIDs, families with TB, diabetes, or other communicable or non-communicable diseases. These existing conditions make individuals more highly susceptible to the serious systemic complications of COVID-19, due to an immunocompromised status or poor lung health.
These impacts have a disproportionate impact on women and the transgender community. Women generally buy the groceries, so are exposed to higher risk of contracting COVID-19 in crowded market conditions or on public transport. Women also often assume the role of caregiver, so becoming more at risk of infection themselves. Transgender (TG) women often find employment in the unorganised sector, through collections or the sex industry. TG women have no choice other than to practice unsafe contact with strangers to earn money, or lose their income source during lockdown. Transgender women are also a high-risk group for HIV/AIDs and other STIs, and risk losing access to crucial AntiRetroViral therapy.
In response, Blossom Trust has implemented three activities: promotion of infographics, distribution of resources, and raising funds.
Early in the response, Blossom designed and distributed a COVID-19 infographic campaign via social media (as featured in the previous blog). This promoted correct facts about the virus, and encouraged safe behaviour - including frequent hand washing and social distancing.
More recently, we have begun to distribute key resources to individuals in acute need of emergency relief. In the Kanchipuram district, after raising local funds, the Blossom team have already made incredible efforts to support the community, by distributing rice, grains and other supplies to vulnerable transgender individuals. In Virudhunagar, the team is also in the process of collaborating with the Madurai-based NGO SEEDS, and will soon be distributing emergency relief in the local area to families in need.
Finally, COVID-19 and the threat to food security is already having an impact at Dayspring Home. We fear that the local food crisis will continue and potentially worsen, so Blossom Trust is looking to mitigate this threat and ensure food and shelter for our children in these difficult times. Therefore, we are seeking immediate, short-term support by setting up a fundraiser on the platform ImpactGuru. As well as immediate food relief, we will be using funds raised to increase the agricultural output of Dayspring, aiming to ensure a more reliable, sustainable food source in cases of future hardship. More information can be found here: https://www.impactguru.com/fundraiser/help-dayspring-home
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, as does the efforts that Blossom Trust will make to protect and support the vulnerable members of our communities. We are continually looking for opportunities to mitigate the difficulties faced by many, in ways that ensures compliance with guidelines and safety for everyone. With no end in sight, we will be incorporating a response to COVID-19 in all upcoming projects, and we will be focussing our attention to projects that cultivate food security, economic security, and community resilience in the long-term. We will make it through this challenging period, and use the lessons learned to continue strengthening the women and families of Tamil Nadu.
Project duration: 2020