When the world entered the last leg of the 21st century’s second decade, a few months ago, somehow the word twenty-twenty sounded very phonetic. It had a certain charm to it—the same charm that the mythological demons used on herds of happy cattle returning home grazing to gain their full trust before abducting them.
As late as mid of March, we were a happy herd going to our grazing field and returning happily, until this twenty-twenty demon named COVID-19 abducted and put us in the position of ‘work from home’.
While for most of us, working from home seemed to be the only option available, there were still those who could not afford this luxury and were out there growing to feed us: farmers.
Working from home seemed to be the only option available to the corporate companies when the cases started to increase in India during March, and the nation was in a complete lockdown after 21st March intending to contain the virus. But the occupation that couldn’t have halted during these series of lockdown was farming. When production couldn’t have stopped, our farmers were relentlessly toiling the fields to feed the nation and save it from starvation.
Many NGOs, government, and administrative bodies are working to help those who were forced by the pandemic to live away from their homes. But the real hard work is done by the farmers of this nation who are helping in running the supply chain against the unfavorable weather conditions, especially in Northern India.
What drove to this edge is the disruption of the cordial relationship humans had with nature, where the production and consumption were in equilibrium. Deadly viruses and climate change are a couple of adverse effects of that disruption—one that humans caused with their want for more. This pandemic has taught us to pause and introspect because nothing would be more traumatic than us humans, getting out of it unaffected and unchanged.
The words self-reliant and sustainable are not new to the Sewa family and the people associated with it. Sewa International’s work in Uttarakhand has revolved around sustainable development in the mountains, and our organization has always been run by these hardworking women, who empower each other to do more, whether it was to reinvent themselves as farmers through training or to stitch masks for government and essential service providers.
Women are working persistently in fields, on sewing machines, distributing relief kits, and even reaching out to the community to sensitize them about physical hygiene as well as physical distancing.
The process of recovering would be difficult due to the halt in the livelihood sector, and Uttarakhand will have to redeem itself after a non-active tourist season. Sewa launched a campaign to raise funds, to provide these determined women with their daily wages, called ‘Task4Mask’ on Give India’s platform.
‘Task4Mask’ is the campaign to promote these women and raise funds for their daily wages, to make this unit self-sustaining. A worker can produce an average of 40-50 masks per day and can help support their families as well, as many of their families are dependent on daily wages. A minimum daily wage for these women is raised through this campaign, to support those who support the nation in catastrophic times.
The road to becoming self-reliant goes through those same grazing fields that were once abandoned by us.
Sewa International’s humble appeal to its supporters worldwide is to come forward and help support our endeavor to produce home-made masks by supporting our campaign, Task4Mask.