The World Food Program estimates 265 million people could face starvation by the end of 2020. The majority of this vulnerable population hails from poor and developing countries across Asia and Africa.
India, the second most populous country in the world, hosts a large percentage of this vulnerable population in its rural areas. Specifically, due to the Covid-19 shutdown of Government schools across India, tens of thousands of women (from underprivileged and remote villages) who are employed as school cooks on a contract-basis by the Government have been out of a job since April 2020.
Deprived of their meager earnings of <1.25 USD a day as a cook and the lack of an alternative supporting income, these women and their families have been pushed to the brink of poverty.
Further, Covid-19 has resulted in the loss of employment of the spouses of 90% of these women. Their spouses who work either as daily wage laborers or poor farmers or auto-rickshaw drivers are finding it extremely difficult to find alternative means of income. Consequently, these helpless women and their families are staring at either starvation or acute malnutrition in the coming months. Specifically, as per an article in the Times of India, just in the southern state of Karnataka, more than 100,000 staff have been out of work since April and struggling to make ends meet.
Some of these cooks have made an ardent plea to Annapoorna asking for help.
Annapoorna is working towards urgently providing these families a monthly grocery kit (containing rice, lentils, wheat flour, cooking oil, salt, sugar and basic spices) worth USD 20 every month for the next 1 year. These grocery kits will be assembled by the volunteers and personally delivered door-to-door ensuring that your loving offering in the form of food reaches the homes of each and every identified needy family.
Annapoorna has already embarked on this noble task. In June, Annapoorna learnt about the condition of 600 cooks of education department (akshara dasoha) from all over Pavagada taluk, Tumkur district who had not received salaries for more than six months. Annapoorna Trust in collaboration with Sri Ramakrishna Sevashrama sponsored 600 Food Kits comprising of rice (5kg), sugar (2kg), lentils (1kg), wheat flour (2kg), chilli powder, and salt and distributed them to the cooks in a phased manner on 2 days – the 26th and 28th of June.