Chudar COVID-19 Relief Update #7

Thanks for your support to Covid relief efforts of Chudar. Your donation has helped us provide.

  • Groceries and sanitary kits to 500 families across 15 communities in Chennai and villages in Chengalpet and Tiruvannamalai
  • Masks to 6000 people in the community
  • 400 bottles of sanitizers made using WHO guidelines, to families in the communities we work with

Though the lock-down was relaxed in the past couple of weeks, hotspots like Chennai still face several restrictions. Most of the underprivileged who are employed in the unorganized sector, depending on daily wages and public transport to get to work, have not been able to resume and are still facing several challenges to make ends meet.

In our quest for reaching such people, Chudar volunteers have been able to identify many such families living without even a roof on their heads in the heart of Chennai.

Nivedha our volunteer has distributed groceries, vegetables and masks to 20 families who are living on the streets in Saidapet, some of them on platforms in the street opposite to the Gurukulam school. While speaking to them she found that many of these families were displaced earlier during the December 2015 floods in Tamilnadu. Since then, they have been dwelling on the streets without a permanent home. Some of them are employed as temporary workers with the corporation as cleaners and sanitary workers on a contract basis, some others were daily wage labourers employed in construction activities of various kinds. One of them said, ‘it’s just been four years when tragedy struck us and now again we are bearing the brunt, we live in the hope that this will change.’

Community Kitchen in Kadalur village:
Mani, our volunteer from Chudar, as part of our relief efforts helped the local SHG coordinator in setting up a community kitchen.
“Kadalur is a small village on the ECR, close to Chennai. Majority of the people here, work as sweepers and do odd jobs like gardening, small construction works, road repair or fishing for daily wages. When the Government announced the lock-down, the first few days were normal but after that, many widows and older people could not get access to food. Ms.Jayalakshmi, SHG coordinator also found that nearly half village had started to eat seafood call Matti (a variety of clams) which addresses hunger temporarily but not enough to satiate it. The children were literally starving, so with the help of a few others in the village, she decided to form a community kitchen to provide these families with cooked food. I’m happy to share that we were able to provide with the required rice and other groceries to feed 50 families, so that they could at least have 2 decent meals a day.” says Mani.
Mask and Sanitizer distribution
Valli our volunteer from Mylapore, has so far distributed more than 600 reusable cloth masks to the people in the community. She has not only distributed to people in the community but also to other smalltime vendors, vegetable sellers, sanitary and health workers in the area. When we spoke to her on how she single-handedly managed such a feat, she said that she would always keep around 10-15 masks hand in her bag and as and when she encounters people not wearing masks she would give it to them and explain the benefits of protecting oneself by wearing a mask
Chudar and its volunteers have also made sanitizers based on the WHO guidelines and distributed it to many families in the community and also to small shop owners and vegetable vendors. Many of them have used the sanitizer and said that they are more than happy to use it and quite thankful to the volunteers as they could not afford to buy them.

Chudar COVID-19 Relief Update # 6

Slowly as the lock-down restrictions have been relaxed in some parts of the country, Tamilnadu especially Chennai, is still reeling under the spurt of COVID -19 cases.

Keeping up with its relief work, Chudar has identified the need to focus on Integrated relief in the locations where Chudar has been working to help all the people in the community in one way or the other.

Key components of Integrated Relief:

Relief for the poorest

Immediate relief by way of grocery and sanitary kits have been distributed to the poorest families in 15 locations: Guindy, Godhamedu, ICF, Kotturpuram, Mylapore, Mandaveli, Teynampet, Saidapet, Triplicane, Adambakkam, NGO colony and villages in Chengalpet and Thiruvannamalai

380 families reached in the above-mentioned areas. 4000 masks made and 3500 distributed in the community.

Sanitation and Health workers have been working round the clock to ensure that our cities and neighbourhoods are clean and sanitized. As an acknowledgement to their selfless service Chudar has reached out to them as well.

Kathiresan our local volunteer from Thiruvannamalai, Valli from Mylapore and Nivedha from Saidapet, distributed masks, sanitation kits and essential groceries to Government sanitation employees in their respective locations

Mask Making as a livelihood
In addition to providing relief kits and masks, Chudar has also been able to effectively engage the community, providing them with a means of income by way of making reusable cloth masks and distributing it within the community itself

Education for children in the community
The Chudar team felt that the children in the community should also be engaged in a meaningful way so that they do not miss out on the opportunity of learning new things as well as recollecting what they have learnt thereby utilizing their time usefully during the lock-down period.

Shanti lives in Mylapore with her husband who used to work as security personnel. Three months ago, a surgery left him unfit to continue the job and the responsibility of taking care of his medical expenses and running the family fell on Shanti’s shoulders. Shanti had learnt to tailor but did not have a steady income. She expressed her interest in helping the community and since then has been engaged in stitching cloth masks for the people. She found that the use of elastic instead of cloth- tie-ups were more effective and easy to use. She quickly made a 100 of them with this new design and distributed it to some families and obtained their feedback. The families welcomed this move and soon she made around 1000 masks, some of which have been distributed to many small vegetable vendors in the locality, by Valli our Mylapore volunteer.
Manju, our tutor at the Kotturpuram centre conducted classes for the children through whatsapp video calls. She conducted Science, Math and English classes for children in batches where 3-4 children would be present in a batch. The 30 minute class comprised of sharing videos in a particular subject and asking questions based on the video. The children were very excited to connect over whatsapp and interact with their friends. One student Priyadarshini sent back a voice clip saying that she tried out one of the experiments along with her brother and found it very interesting. Many children said that they missed coming to the centre but these classes helped them revise what they had learnt earlier and loved answering the questions. Many were very eager to get their answers corrected as soon as they sent them to Manju.

Chudar COVID-19 Relief Update #5

It’s been more than a month of the COVID-19 lockdown and people across the world have been coping with this situation in whatever best way they can. Chudar has been steadily reaching out to many more families through their local volunteers who relentlessly identify the most vulnerable and ensure that the grocery and sanitary kits reach them.

Families reached
300 Families in 15 locations across Chennai and nearby villages in the districts of Kanchipuram and Chengalpet
3000 masks made by 15 people from the community, 2500 of them distributed to families in the above locations
At these times of uncertainty, many may have wondered, What can I do? How can I make a difference?

Two young girls Ananya Ganesh and Akshara Ganesh not only wanted to help their parents during the lock-down situation with all the household chores but also found that they could ” earn” their pocket money through this and put it to good use. Instead of using the money they earned to buy things of their choice, they chose to donate all of it to Chudar’s CoVID -19 Relief!Here is what they had to say “We had learnt about Chudar’s after-school learning centres a few months back and really enjoyed meeting and interacting with the children, the tutors and volunteers of Chudar. Recently we saw the relief work Chudar was doing on their Facebook page. Some of the stories were really touching and amazing. We felt that most of the times ,a lot of us don’t realise how lucky we are to have it all easy. We wanted to do our bit in giving back to the society and people in need. We are very happy and thank Chudar for giving us this opportunity and we w hope to continue to do this through the lock-down. Our parents couldn’t have been more happier !”

Arvind Shivram is a 12th standard student resides in a high rise apartment in Chennai. When he saw Chudar’s update about the relief work, he took the initiative to approach all families in his apartment to raise funds. He wrote a very detailed and passionate appeal.Inspired by his approach, one of the residents also came forward to match funds upto Rs.50000!. Thanks to Arvind, Chudar has been able to reach out to many more families affected by the lock-down.

Kumar is a tailor by profession, during the lock-down he couldn’t continue with his work as there weren’t many orders.

“Usually I get orders to do school uniforms and wedding clothes during this time, but due to the lock-down restrictions, my business has been very down. When I saw one of Chudar’s volunteers distributing goceries and sanitary kits to very needy elders in my area, I got curious and contacted them over phone. Then I came to know that they were also identifying people who could make masks and give it to the community. I was thrilled !What better way for me to use my skills? I told them that I’m a tailor and I can help immediately, all I need is the specifications and I have some cloth too!. They sent me the design as per government specifications and also arranged for the material. Within just 3 days I made 500 masks and they were distributed in my area. I felt a sense of achievement, I’m so glad that I could help people in need”

Bound by nothing but only compassion towards humanity, each one of you who has supported Chudar’s COVID-19 Relief has been a source of inspiration and made a difference to those in need. Chudar joins in sharing the gratitude expressed by all the families whom we have been able to reach, through your generous contributions.

Chudar COVID-19 Relief Update # 4

Day by day the COVID-19 situation across the world paints a grim picture. The lock-down extension has been extremely difficult to manage especially by those who are economically most vulnerable. Rays of hope in the form of benevolent donors continue to spread light among those who thought that nothing could help them.

Update onChudar’s relief work in the past week:

Groceries and Sanitary kits distributed to:

    1. 200 families across 15 communities in Guindy, Godhamedu,ICF, Kotturpuram, Mylapore, Mandaveli, Teynampet, Saidapet, Triplicane, Adambakkam, NGO colony, Nagamalai village Chengalpet.
    1. 2000 masks made and 1500 distributed to families

Our local volunteers share some heartwarming experiences of gratitude and hope from the field:

Karthika works with Chudar as a resource person, but during the lock-down she expressed interest in doing relief distribution to the neediest families near her location. So far she has been able to reach 35 families in a span of 1 week with Relief kits consisting of grocery and sanitary supplies, sanitizers and re-useable masks. While talking to her about her experience this is what Karthika had to say:

When I started doing the distribution of the relief kits, I had no idea that there were so many needy and vulnerable people, each of the families had their own set of problems. One, in particular, moved me a lot.

As I was passing through the Sithalapakkam lake area, I got to know of a family of 3 children studying in 9th,8th and 7th, from their neighbours. They had lost their mother and were living with their alcoholic father who does not go to work regularly and does odd jobs. Many times their neighbours said that the children fend for themselves with no help at all. I found that the boy used the money he got out of collecting and selling the liquor bottles, scrap materials and waste paper to pay for his sisters and his notebooks and other school materials. Sometimes he would go fishing with his younger sister to the lake while his older sister would take care of the house. They were very reluctant at first to accept the Relief kit and some clothes. When I asked the kids what they wanted they replied “Akka we want to study well and get good marks

Hema from Cheyyur works with Chudar’s school team. She decided to help in distributing relief kits when she got to know that many old people in the nearby villages in her were not even able to get a decent meal.
“When I went and distributed the relief kits to around 30 families, little did I know that I would meet a 108-year-old woman! Kannamma served as a nurse in a PHC in her days but now lives by herself in a small hut. Her 3 daughters are married and live with their families in different locations. Kannamma is barely able to walk and moves about by crawling. She takes care of her needs through sheer grit. She is helped by the people in the neighbourhood with some food. As I kept the groceries at her doorstep, she said I have seen so much in my long life as a nurses care of her needs by crawling. She is helped by the people in the neighbourhood with some food. As I kept the groceries at her doorstep, she said I have seen so much in my long life as a nurse, but nothing like this ever, I pray that this gets over soon and the people of my village are able to live normal lives. Then with tears in her eyes, she folded her hands and thanked me. I couldn’t move! I was so overwhelmed by her gesture. I’m really happy to have gotten the opportunity to serve people in the time of their need.”

Chudar COVID-19 Relief Update #3

We thank you for contributing towards Chudar’s COVID -19 relief work

As the lock-down period has been extended further, across India, until May 3rd, Chudar and its local volunteers continue to reach out to the most deserving and needy families across 10 different slum areas in Chennai with grocery and sanitary kits as well as reusable masks, through a decentralized model of distribution adhering to the Government norms

Distribution Update:

150 families in Guindy, Godhamedu, ICF, Kotturpuram, Mylapore, Mandaveli, Teynampet, Saidapet, Triplicane, Adambakkam, NGO colony, Nagamalai village Chengalpet.

1500 masks made and 1000 of these have been distributed along with the relief kits to families in the above-mentioned locations.
Chudar’s local volunteers had identified some of the members in the above-mentioned locations, who had tailoring skills and approached them with making masks, to provide them with a means of livelihood as well as help the members in their own community.

We bring you the details of some of the families Chudar identified through its local volunteers and distributed these kits.

Ashwini, a 9-year-old girl, lives with her grandparents in a slum area in Teynampet. Her mother passed away a couple of years ago and soon after, her father abandoned her. Her aged grandmother is the sole breadwinner of the family. She works as a house-help and takes care of Ashwini and her grandfather who is suffering from tuberculosis and is undergoing treatment. Since the lock-down, Ashwini’s grandmother is unable to work and also finds it difficult to procure rations, given her family circumstances. When one of Chudar’s local volunteers came to know of their situation, they immediately arranged for the essential supplies. Ashwini and her family expressed their gratitude to Chudar and its donors for the timely help.

Marigan is an old man living with his wife in Nagamalai, a small village in the outskirts of Chennai. Marigan and his wife were employed as a daily wage labourer in agricultural fields and also in cleaning lakes till last month. But due to the COVID -19 lock-down, they are unable to find work in their village. Marigan’s sons live in Chennai and cannot offer support to their parents due to travel restrictions in this present situation. Faced with dire poverty and lack of supplies, Marigan and his wife are barely able to manage 1 meal a day. Hema, the local volunteer from Chudar arranged for the grocery kit to be supplied to this old couple that comprised of rice, pulses, oil and vegetables. Marigan hopes that this situation will end and soon, he will be able to go back to work.

Chudar COVID-19 Relief Update #2

As a first step in relief work during the COVID -19 pandemic, Chudar and its volunteers identified the most needy families in the slum areas across Chennai and near by districts and provided them with groceries and sanitary kits to help them sustain themselves during the lock-down.

So far Chudar has reached 100 families in the following locations:

Guidy, Godhamedu,ICF, Kotturpuram, Mylapore, Mandaveli, Teynampet, Saidapet, Triplicane, Adambakkam, NGO colony, Nagamalai village Chengalpet.

Chudar also realized that many families were out of work and wanted to do something constructive about it

Vasanthi was employed as a housekeeping staff in a company, but since the lockdown, she did not have any work. With 2 young children to take care of and her husband, a daily wage labourer, her future was very uncertain. Chudar approached her with the idea of making reusable masks according to the design prescribed by the Government of India and give to the people in her community. Vasanthi was elated by the idea as she did do a bit of odd jobs in tailoring and this would ensure her some economic stability. Soon she received the material and the design translated in Tamil with the details of making the mask through a local volunteer. In the next couple of days she managed to make 100 masks and they were distributed to many families in her community. ” I’m really happy that I’m able to use my tailoring skills and help my community. I’m very grateful to Chudar for this initiative” said Vasanthi.

Many others like Vasanthi have come forward and have made around 1000 masks to be distributed to the community.

Chudar COVID-19 Relief Update #1

As you all are aware that the repercussions of COVID -19 lock-down has tremendously affected the day to day lives of millions across the world, more so for the most economically vulnerable and marginalized people in our society, especially those who are elderly and depend on daily wages or have just one earning member in their family.

Chudar as part of its relief work has identified such families in the community we work in with the help of our tutors and local volunteers, across Chennai. We first started the relief process in the slum areas where our after-school centres were functioning until the lock-down and have been able to provide with the daily necessities of food and sanitary supplies through a decentralized model of limited movement and contact of our volunteers, adhering to all the safety norms issued by the Government.

Daily supplies have been sent to around 45 families in the slum areas of Mylapore, Mandaveli, Triplicane, Saidapet, Guindy, Anakaputtur as well as in the nearby districts like Kanchipuram and Thiruvannamalai.

N95 masks have also been sent to doctors and health workers in a Government Hospital to meet their urgent requirements until their supplies had arrived.

First Month with Chudar Education

I was very excited to finally be involved with developmental initiatives that worked directly with projects pertaining to specific communities. At McGill, learning all the theoretical aspects to development helped build my passion for this field.  With Chudar, I have had to opportunity to observe and learn directly by participating in projects, which has served as a huge stepping-stone for my interests.

more “First Month with Chudar Education”