“I still didn’t find work when the lock down was declared at the outbreak of the pandemic. I was left trapped in the city. The situation kept getting worse with each passing day. My savings were depleting and by the month of May, I had exhausted every resource of survival.”
Jitendra is a 26 year-old migrant worker from the Bargadawa Raja Gram Panchayat of Maharajganj district, Uttar Pradesh. His father maintains a piece of agricultural land whose yield supports their family’s day-to-day needs. Although, both of Jitendra’s brothers had migrated to cities to earn a living, they faced several challenges to meet the basic necessities of the family. “Keeping the financial shortcomings in view, I decided to shoulder the responsibility of my family alongside my father and brothers. At the age of 26, I planned to seek employment in bigger cities.”
Amidst the constraints and deficiencies, Jitendra proceeded with the hope to earn a better life. “I had heard about Mumbai from my friends. I was assured that there were many livelihood options and work opportunities available in larger cities. I reached Mumbai in January, 2020 to effectuate my dreams. My friends and acquaintances helped me to look for opportunities. This quest spanned across the month of January and February but we didn’t get hold of any opportunity.”
It wasn’t that easy to find a job in Mumbai as it was verbalised to be. Poverty, social discrimination and unequal distribution of privilege have forced many youths like Jitendra to separate from their homelands only to end up struggling in cities alien to them. The circumstances didn’t seem to improve for Jitendra while the upcoming tide was about to disrupt all the means that existed with him.
“I still didn’t find work when the lockdown was declared at the outbreak of the pandemic. I was left trapped in the city. I managed to spend a few days with the aid of friends and neighbours but the situation kept getting worse with each passing day. My savings were depleting and by the month of May, I had exhausted every resource of survival. My friends and I were about to start on foot when a neighbour informed us regarding the Shramik special train services. We arrived at the station with all belongings but didn’t get a train back home. Undergoing a lot of hassle, we finally succeeded in registering for the return, and after waiting for two more days, boarded the next Shramik special train.”
The train lacked a lot of necessary provisions. Jitendra had to starve throughout the journey. The pre-existing deficiencies in the family worsened at the advent of unforeseen challenges and Jitendra’s family could witness the shunning gates of livelihood generations.
Meanwhile, CASA in partnership with Change Alliance surveyed the condition of migrant and daily labourers in the district of Maharajganj. Measures were specified to assist the marginalised labourers in developing better means of sustenance for their families. Jitendra identified this opportunity to sustain his family and approached us. He informed the support members that his father holds a cultivable land but due to the existing debts and economic constraints, they are unable to purchase the seeds to sow. Jitendra advocated the fertility of the land in nursing vegetable cultivation which would largely benefit him to earn better. Imbibing this new hope in his request, he asked for tomatoes and cauliflower seeds. Granting his wishes, CASA, supported by Change Alliance, distributed him the seeds of tomato and cauliflower plants on the 6th of July, 2020.
“The provision of those seeds gave me a new breath of life to outlive the desperate circumstances. I have created a positive strategy for farming to empower myself in meeting the inefficiencies of my family. CASA and Change Alliance have favoured me with a ray of hope to improve my life. I feel grateful for their help and can never express it well in mere words”
CASA remains dedicated to empowering the marginalised with better income generation options while meeting their immediate needs for survival. We commit our heartfelt efforts in improving the lives of the ones in dire need of relief.