India's COVID-19 crisis: how Scottish Love in Action are making sure young people don't face it alone
30th April 2021
As India faces a deadly COVID-19 wave affecting tens of millions, Scottish Love In Action are working with their partners to make sure young people aren't facing this terrifying time alone.
Scottish Love in Action have been partnering with grassroots NGOs in India for 21 years: our work is more vital than ever as India faces an unprecedented crisis. Deaths from Covid have exceeded 200,000 and almost 18 million cases have been recorded. Less than 10% of the population have had a vaccination and there are major concerns about how demand will be met.
Anusha Bharadwaj, CEO of our partner VOICE4Girls, told us ‘the general morale is that of anxiety, panic and helplessness’. People are pushed further into poverty, the economy under huge strain. School closure over the past year means many children will never return to education, robbing them of any opportunity to escape the poverty trap.
Our partners on the ground
VOICE4Girls are delivering their programmes online, providing essential information to girls and boys about their health, their rights and keeping themselves, their families and their communities safe. At the forefront of the unfolding mental health crisis amongst children and young people, the safe space and support they offer is vital.
ASRITHA Rainbow Home are on the frontline, caring for and protecting street children. They moved fast to put in place stringent preventative health and hygiene measures and to ensure access to online learning. None of the children in ASRITHA have suffered from Covid and the team are working hard to comfort and reassure them that everything they are doing is keeping them safe.
Offering hope: the Livelihoods Project
We are working closely with our partners to do all we can to help, including protecting the futures of 600 young people across Hyderabad, Kolkata and Bangalore with our new Livelihoods Project.
Leaving home is hard; even harder without family support. For some the next step is higher education, but the less academic need choices and opportunities too – this is where the Livelihoods Project comes in.
Partnering with Rainbow Homes (who house, care for and rehabilitate street children across India) young people are provided with essential Life Skills and Vocational Training. Personalised mentoring and support prepares 16 to 18 year olds for the major transition into adult life: finding accommodation and jobs, managing money and planning for the future. Support continues from 19 to 23 as young people move on to independent living, giving them the knowledge, skills and resilience to deal with everything ahead.
Young people like Hanief, who knows he can '...unleash my potential if given...support and resources': He’s been supported to find a course in videography (his passion), assisted with tuition fees and helped to find part-time work while studying.
The support of the Livelihoods Project means young people aren’t facing this frightening time alone. It offers Hanief and his peers everything they need to try to embrace the future with hope.
In the words of Anusha, CEO of VOICE4Girls, at this time of crisis: ‘Ultimately, it is but hope that carries us forth.’