Collaboration with Ketto and SNEHA for relief to bonded labour survivors during COVID19

With the COVID19 lockdown putting a halt to everyday activities, work and supply of necessities, the survivor communities were worst hit with no daily wage work options available to sustain themselves and their families. While support was mobilized to communities of released bonded labourer communities though collaboration with Government and non-profit organizations volunteering on the ground to distribute food and safety kits to daily wage earners, construction workers, domestic helpers, destitute, people living on the streets/ beggars and so on, the IJM team explored additional avenues to support these vulnerable communities.

The team reached out to Ketto, one of the most trustworthy and largest crowdfunding platforms in India, which helps raise funds for individuals, collective communities and non-profit organizations among others. Through a series of conversations and concerted collaboration with the Zilla Parishad officials, SNEHA an organization in Ramanagara, was identified as a campaigner for this cause. Though SNEHA is dedicated to working for economically backward communities of Mysore, Chamarajanagar and Erode district, the organization agreed to campaign for the communities of rescued bonded labourers.

Ketto worked swiftly to launch the campaign on their website on the 28th of March and an amount of Rs. 2, 70,799 has been raised so far on the crowdfunding platform. The hope is that the target of Rs. 4, 50, 000 will be raised by the time the campaign ends on the 30th of April.

The SNEHA team collaborated with leaders of Udayonmukha, the Rescued Bonded Labourers’ Association (RBLA), Zilla Parishad officials and a social work college in Ramanagara. The organization developed a robust plan with logistics to map out the delivery of essentials to the communities. The Zilla Parishad officials agreed to support local non-profit organization staff and volunteers on precautionary measures to stay safe. Five villages with survivor communities in Ramanagara were mapped out and the Udayonmukha leaders were connected to the SNEHA team to ensure an effective communication and delivery system.

Though this initiative was initially started with the released bonded labourer community in mind, it later grew to encompass communities they lived in as well, recognizing their vulnerability and confusion during the pandemic. Now that the primarily targeted communities have been adequately supported, the funds are being channelled towards providing emergency supplies to vulnerable migrant worker communities in and around Ramanagara.