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The Role of Non-profits in the Indian COVID-19 Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic hit India hard. The crisis effected lives and severed survival of many. In a country where migration had become a pressing trend in the past few decades and where 8 million people still live below the poverty line, we have seen the devastating impact that the pandemic can have on our country in the last 15 months.

Most of the global trade was effected but the global knowledge and information sharing, helped in handling the crisis. Development, public, private and medical organizations came together to handle the impacts of the pandemic. It would have been impossible for the government alone to holistically address the pandemic. It has also been evident that the volunteer sector too played an important role in bridging the gap between the government and the population of the country. NGOs have been able to provide relief to the rural parts and to lower income section of the society extensively through their grassroot reach and development programs that focused majorly on COVID relief.

While the pandemic effected every section of the society, the downtrodden section of the society felt the hardest blow. Now that the future seems to be the one in which we live with the pandemic, it is essential that we rebuild lives and livelihood with focus on human centered development, especially after the social, emotional, psychological and financial effects of COVID-19 aftermath.

Samvedana Trust, like many NGOs in the country worked towards bridging the gap between the resources and needs for COVID relief. Ration kits were provided through the rural and urban reach programs, doctor consultation was an important aspect along with assistance for COVID tests and oxygen concentrators at rural Gujarat. The volunteer lead programs and online school helped the kids in rural areas stay in touch with their education and learning.

In frame: Samvedana's Grocery Distribution Drive in Lana, Dholka

Observing the loss that households who lost their breadwinners faced, we took on to the approach of Human centered design and People In Environment approach to address the specific need of the families. Our COVID campaign which is now live on Samvedana website is an effort of recognizing such families who have lost their bread winner, followed by a need analysis and then offering solutions. The solutions cover areas like- sponsoring children education, providing monthly ration kits, skill training, job assistance, grantor of families, Insurance, medical assistance, linkage to government schemes/ policies, raising funds and so on depending on the need of the particular individual and family as a whole.

In frame: Distribution of Ration Kits by Samvedana

The role of NGOs have been extensive during the pandemic and will continue to be even in the aftermath of the pandemic. From providing basic amenities, spreading awareness, to enhancing role of Corporate Social responsibility are some important areas addressed by NGOs during these trying times. It would be long before we get back to the old normal where development programs could be addressed without considering COVID implications. NGOs and Volunteers efforts will continue to play an important role in bridging the gap and establishing linkages. It is in times like these that we bring compassion in action.

Written by:

Grusha Victor

Coordination and communications Executive,

Samvedana Trust, Ahmedabad.


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