Earlier this year, the global COVID-19 pandemic reached new heights in the Indian subcontinent. Your donations are providing vital support for those most in need.

The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus was first detected in India last October, leading to a massive second wave of cases which peaked in May 2021. At this point, over 400,000 cases were being confirmed every day and it is estimated that the total excess deaths in the country stand at around five million. The effects of this wave were also felt in neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

“No words to describe the magnitude of the human tragedy”

Our alliance member organisations working on the frontline in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka took immediate action to support vulnerable children and families as best they could. 

Nevertheless, the situation was unprecedented. Rita Panicker of our alliance member Butterflies in Delhi told us about the scale of the tragedy that was unfolding. She said:

“We are getting calls to our Childline, and from the government’s Child Welfare Committees, asking for help in cases where children are left alone in the house as their parents are admitted to hospitals and [the children] require food and emotional support. In some cases, the parents have passed away due to the illness and the child is infected with coronavirus and in home isolation.”

In northern India, our members Praajak were working to support marginalised communities – specifically nomadic tribes whose way of life has long been threatened. These people often rely on begging and, as such, were at risk of starvation as the rest of the country stayed at home under lockdown orders. Our local team’s deep knowledge of the challenges faced by these marginalised communities meant these vulnerable people had somebody looking out for them at all times.

In Bangladesh, our local team focused on supporting children with disabilities. For many of these children, the pandemic presented a different set of challenges. Some were unable to understand what was happening with the pandemic, why they were unable to go to school and why it was threatening the livelihoods of members of their family. This compounded the already difficult economic situation, adding mental health issues.

Reaching those who need it most

Being part of the Family for Every Child alliance meant that these local people, working hard to improve lives in their communities day after day, were able to access much-needed funds to keep going – and to do even more. This was made possible by all those who support the work we do around the world.

One person who received support in Bangladesh commented:

“We were starving in the pandemic situation as there were no jobs for my parents and no food. In that situation, the Centre for Services and Information on Disability came with the food support from Family for Every Child and we thought they came as angels.”

Food parcels across the region included basics such as rice, lentils, potatoes and flour, as well as hygiene essentials such as soap and detergent. For many, these provided vital help at a time when incomes were paralysed due to lockdowns, and government support was not always accessible or sufficient. 

What now?

The pandemic will have lasting effects on children and families in the region – and the wider world – for many years to come. This will undoubtedly require our local alliance members to keep supporting those who need it most globally, whether by providing basic needs or psychological support. We’ll keep working to make sure as many people receive the help they need as possible.

Donate to Family’s coronavirus support fund

Read more articles from Family Matters August 2021