BACKGROUND AND DETAILS
Pune is one of the cities severely impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, and citizens from low-communities have been experiencing multi-fold vulnerabilities and hardships. The pandemic has resulted in situations of uncertainty, fear, and overwhelm. The lockdown due to the pandemic has created a deeper emotional impact for marginalized communities, who were already fighting with critical structural challenges of inequality, deprivation, and poverty.
Pune City Connect (PCC) has responded to the situation quickly and has been working on relief initiatives over the last 5 weeks as well as reflecting on the strategy for relief to recovery and embracing the “new normal”. Watch a video of Pune City Connect’s CEO, Ruchi Mathur, sharing PCC’s story during COVID times.
Accordingly, PCC has undertaken the following two initiatives since 4th April 2020:
1) Helpline for Low Income Communities
Providing a helpline for awareness of COVID-19, reasons for lockdown, do’s and don’ts, addressing fake news and misinformation, dissemination of information on Government initiatives, understanding health-related and other concerns
The helpline is being run by PCC with support from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Connecting (a distress support NGO). PCC staff and student volunteers are managing the helpline. PMC has provided space, infrastructure and information support to run the helpline. We have received over 3000 calls till date where information on food distribution and medical services has been provided.
2) Distribution of Essential Groceries
Distribution of essential groceries in a single kit (5kg rice, 5kg wheat flour, 1 liter cooking oil, lentils, tea, sugar, spices and bathing soap) to most vulnerable families from slum communities in Pune. One kit will support a family of 4 members for two weeks.
This initiative is being implemented with support from PMC, which is providing logistical support and vendor suggestions. PCC has been responsible for the identification of and distribution to the most vulnerable and obtaining financial support from individual citizens and corporates.
Corporates, volunteers and student staff. Pune City Connect is currently seeking other partners to scale this initiative to reach more vulnerable families.
The recipients have been identified through:
- Our database of Lighthouse students where we have focused on identifying vulnerable families. The Lighthouses of Pune is a sustainable livelihood program run for low-income communities, and 9000 students have been enrolled till date.
- Details of other vulnerable families that come to light either through personal information or through the Helpline
- PMC (Pune Municipal Corporation) requests that are being received for specific areas where they feel urgent help is required. In such cases, the Grocery kits are being handed over to a community coordinator identified by helpline volunteer/PMC official.
In all other cases i.e. where distribution to each individual is by Pune City Connect, a code is shared through WhatsApp which has to be checked before actual handing over of the kit. Contact details are taken, code verification is done and a picture taken as documentation of every kit distributed.
More information on this initiative: COVID relief report_PCC_April 2020