Covid Response Programme

The COVID-19 health crisis has affected lives across India and has been largely disruptive in terms of economic activity as well loss of human lives. The second wave of the pandemic hit India hard, with cases rising to nearly 400,000 per day in May 2021. The state of Assam has also been severely impacted by the second wave of COVID-19. Till August 2021, 589,426 cases have been reported in Assam, with nearly 5,660 deaths. The pandemic has been humanity’s greatest health challenge, causing untold suffering and taking many precious lives.

Socio Educational Welfare Association, (SEWA) has been working to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19 and also provide services during the lockdown to the needy and poor. There are several initiatives taken up by the COVID-19 response team of SEWA in collaboration with Save the Children, MCI, FREMAA, ASACS, Jiv Daya Foundation, Give2Asia, NABARD

Reusable face mask

During the initial days of lockdown, SEWA is busy making reusable face masks to protect thousands from COVID-19 and, at the same time, providing financial support to the women during the nationwide lockdown.

Through the free distribution of reusable cotton masks, SEWA provides the tea plantation workers, their children, and their families with continual economic activities where they have a better acceptance for preventing the COVID-19 pandemic. SEWA has produced 50,000 reusable face masks for tea workers and their children and distributed them among workers.

Distribution of Dry Ration and Hygiene Kit and Cooked Meal

SEWA, under its COVID Emergency Response Program with the support of Give2Asia tried to address the needs of the pandemic impacted families of Assam.

Due to the severe impact of the COVID pandemic and lockdown situation, COVID patients and their relatives/attendants have been facing a severe food crisis. As a support mechanism, SEWA distributed 4,000 packets of cooked meals at the COVID ward of the Assam Medical College and Hospital, Dibrugarh. The distribution took place from August 9th to August 18th, 2021.

Beneficiaries were chosen using the same criteria, and another 430 poor COVID-affected families were given dry rations and hygiene kits as part of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Programme.This food and nutritional support has been provided to the families so that they can get the minimum nutrition required to escalate their immune systems. 350 families from Assam’s tea estates are among the beneficiaries.

According to the honourable Supreme Court’s decision, 1800 socially vulnerable women received emergency nutrition assistance with the help of the state government.

In collaboration with MCI and Save the Children, Jiv Daya Foundation USA provided hygiene and nutritional kits to stranded migrant workers from other states and their families during the lockdown.

Financial assistance

A financial assistance of Rs 7,500 was provided to 52 marginalised farmers in Dibrugarh district who were able to revive their farm activity during the Rabi season and have better income opportunities and protection during economic stress caused by the pandemic and flood, as well as achieve resilience to combat the pandemic’s adverse impact.

Under Multi Purpose Financial Assistance, 80 poor and vulnerable COVID-affected families received INR 3,000.

Provide basic psychosocial support.

The project provides basic psychosocial support to the COVID-19 diagnosed tea plantation workers through counselling for early recovery and rehabilitation and to minimise the post-COVID complications. This activity aimed to provide psychosocial support and care to individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 and their families. The project also raises public awareness about COVID-appropriate behaviour in Assam tea plantations.

During the counselling session with each individual, the counsellor identifies concerns, prepares to intervene, and provides interventions. Psychosocial counselling helps to address the following:

  • Addressing basic needs.
  • Sharing information.
  • Reducing emotional distress.
  • Containing anxiety.
  • Responding to low mood.
  • Regulating anger.
  • Assuaging guilt.
  • Working with grief.
  • Managing risk for suicide.
  • Mitigating stigma.
  • Nurturing narratives of resilience.

During psychosocial counseling, the counsellor  followed the manual  ‘Rahbar’ developed by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). ‘Rahbar’ is a field action project of the School of Human Ecology, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. The target beneficiaries are the tea estates of Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, and Sivsagarh districts and small tea growers. The project  cover 2000 clients through telecounselling, home visits, and group counselling. Over 3000 counselling sessions were provided to front-line workers, students, youth, and women, among others.

COVID Vaccination Camp

SEWA provided support to the Government Health Department in organising outreach vaccination camps to cover the hard-to-reach population, A total of 10  vaccination camps were organised in different locations as per the vulnerable spots identified by the State Health Department. SEWA facilitates social mobilization, logistic arrangements, crowd management, registration, etc. A total of 2,000 poor and vulnerable individuals benefited from the vaccination drive.

Support for PLHIV (people living with HIV/AIDS)

SEWA has been providing home delivery of ARV monthly medicines to all the people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) within the Dibrugarh District to ensure uninterrupted ARV drug supply for PLHIV during lockdown. During the nationwide lockdown, 35 PLLHIV were able to continue their ARV treatment. SEWA volunteers visited house to house and provided psychosocial counselling to PLHIV.