Cash Assistance for Families Affected by COVID-19By Jim Wungramyao Kasom
Widowed Santosh shares a small one room with her mother and two daughters Pooja, 18, and Shradha, 5, in Lucknow, Northern India. Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, they ran a shop outside their house. It was the family’s only source of income.
When the pandemic started, Pooja had to attend online classes at a relative’s home, because they couldn’t afford to pay for an internet connection on her mobile phone.
“Our shop was closed for three months during the lockdown. We were struggling for food and we had no money left. I pray we don’t have to live through another time like that,” Santosh tells us.
Just as their problems were getting worse, the family faced another major setback - Pooja suffered from a stomach infection and needed urgent treatment.
“Government hospitals were filled with COVID-19 patients and no doctor was willing to treat us. We had to go to a private doctor to get treatment.
“We had no money then. At that time we received a sum of Rs.3450 (about HK$360) from World Vision India. We used that money for Pooja’s treatment,” says Santosh.
For Santosh and her family, World Vision India’s assistance couldn’t have come at a better time. “World Vision India is God’s gift for the poor like us,” says Santosh with a smile.
World Vision India’s cash assistance programme is different from most relief distributions. Instead of receiving pre-selected dry rations and hygiene kits, beneficiaries can use the money as they need.
In Delhi, many families are benefitting from this assistance, which helps improve their livelihoods and gets them back on their feet. Each beneficiary received an amount of Rs.5000 (about HK$520) through cash transfer. So far, the programme has supported over 590,000 families, totalling around HK$12,900,000.
These funds help families buy necessary items and - in many cases - help them revive their livelihoods, which suffered major setbacks during the lockdown. Beneficiaries can also buy food rations and other essentials from specified local vendors, which helps strengthen the local economy.