Coronavirus lockdown – The hidden Migrants safely reach their home

Aahwahan Foundation

Prolonged conflicts, unrelenting violence, and extreme poverty and discrimination drive millions of migrants from their home states; they move to economically vibrant areas such as Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi NCR region, etc. in search of a job. In a post-liberalization era, they have formed a vital cog in the nation’s commercial space, contributing immensely to infrastructure development and serving as the backbone in lifting the economy; unfortunately, most migrants Worker could never lift themselves out of poverty.

The pandemic hit them further where it hurt them the most – their daily income, which led to deafening silence and uncertainty. Crowded living areas and restricted access to food, water, and sanitation made the situation even direr for the migrants. Their families back home were worried about safety and were always putting pressure on them to come back.

For one such group of migrants in Bangalore, the condition was upended when the house owners gave them an ultimatum to pay rent or vacate the rooms. Without a source of income and with no community support, their situation was unenviable. Aahwahan Foundation came to know about their plight and decided to stand up for them.

Aahwahan Foundation

Our volunteers approached the house owners and requested them to reconsider their decision on the rent. However, the situation was no different on the other side. For most house owners, the rent was the only source of income, and they were left with no other alternative.

Our NGO then decided to help the migrants travel to their respective home states. We communicated with the relevant government authorities to get the inter-state permission. Once the approval was received, we collaborated with a private bus operator for the transport.

On 25th May, the first batch of migrants, totaling 68 started their journey back to Odisha and Bihar and the second batch of migrants, totaling 60 started their journey back to Bihar and Gaya from Delhi by Bus. The tears of joy in their eyes and warm gratitude in their hearts made our day. It invigorated our resolve to continue with this mission.

On 29th, another batch of migrants, totaling 1720 from Mumbai and Bangalore was successfully sent back to their home states of West Bengal and Odisha by train. This journey of supporting the migrants has been an enriching experience for all at Aahwahan Foundation. We realized the centrality of compassion in human life and society.