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OUR COVID-19 RESPONSE UPDATES

Telephone helpline, local government linkages, individual outreach support stranded migrant workers

NEWS

By GV News Desk

31 March 2020

As part of our work on Safe Migration, Gram Vikas already had built a database of workers who had migrated to Kerala from villages in our operational area in Thuamul Rampur block of Kalahandi district. A 3-member team in Bhubaneswar aided by one management team member who was at his home in Kerala worked together to reach out to these workers one by one.

As soon as we started making calls, several workers reached out seeking help. Lack of food and not having a safe place to stay were the initial issues. Using contacts in the Kerala government, these cases were brought to the attention of the respective district administrations, and steps were taken to rehabilitate such cases.

The Gram Vikas telephone assistance team reached out, by 2 pm on 30 March, to about 183 workers in different parts of Kerala directly, obtaining information about more than 400 workers. More than 80 persons received immediate support, whose cases were connected through nine calls.

This work has been taken up along with the Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID) and ESAF Small Finance Bank in Kerala. CMID has been a knowledge and research partner for our work in Safe Migration. Talks are currently ongoing with ESAF Small Finance Bank to open a branch in Thuamul Rampur to cater to the banking needs of the migrant workers and the local population.

In view of the emerging situation among the workers stranded at different parts, the three organisations have launched a telephone helpline, Bandu, to meet the needs of migrant workers stranded in different destinations. The helpline is available in Assamese, Bangla, Hindi, Odia and Tamil languages. Gram Vikas will carry out the Odia language operations.

A full-fledged data management and issue escalation protocol is being put together.

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