Our first priority was the girls we were in contact with through the football initiative to ensure they had rations for the month through the pandemic. Since Parcham does not have an FCRA, we connected our collaborating organizations with funders which helped provide rations for 250 households in Dharavi and Vile Parle.
Parcham has provided rations to 572 families. Apart from rations, where needed, people were supported with financial help to purchase medicines.
COVID 19 Response
The pandemic has been a stressful time for people because of the need to be confined within the homes. It is more of a problem to those living in one room houses with 8-10 or more family members in dense localities. There have been newsreports of a surge in the incidence of domestic violence, child sexual abuse and of marrying off young girls. Through the pandemic, we have stayed in touch with the girls who participate in the football program to ensure they have someone to speak with about any of these issues. We have taught them to use online apps for group communication. We regularly conduct online sessions to stay healthy and connected.
One of the rumours in circulation which was preventing people from getting themselves tested or going for treatment was that hospitals were killing off patients with an injection and harvesting their organs. The other rumour was that masks which were being distributed for free had a chemical coating which would suffocate people.
Parcham members reached out to doctors to get them to send us a recording dismissing the rumours. We managed to get a patient who had been cured to speak on video of his experience. We had a relative speaking about their experience at the hospital. School of Media and Cultural Studies in TISS to help us with the final edit of the video which was circulated widely and uploaded on youtube.
Unfortunately, even in a pandemic, the right wing supporters used the incident of a religious congregation by the Tablighi Jamaat as an excuse to vilify muslims. This vilification meant that Muslim vendors were barred from selling vegetables in non Muslim localities. Muslim patients were turned away from hospitals. Hateful propaganda was circulated over social media. We decided to start a social media campaign against hate and fake news to counter this hate with creative messaging. The messages can be viewed here.
The uncertainty and lack of information has been a fertile ground for the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories around the pandemic.
We wish to thank the numerous donors who responded to our call for fundraising and to Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives for making this relief work possible.