Hello, friend of Ekta,
We hope you're well!
Welcome to the fourth issue of Voice of Ekta, a newsletter where we update you on the important news and events at Ekta Parishad India, along with giving you an insight into how we work and what we’ve planned for the near future.
In this issue, we’re giving you a glimpse into the ongoing child-focused COVID-19 relief work through stories of grassroots activists working with children.
This issue is special- the foreword and Voices of the Grassroots feature both highlight some of the youngest supporters of Ekta Parishad!
Foreword by Biplab Pradhan, a young supporter of Ekta Parishad from Odisha
"Jai Jagat, I am Biplab (in center in above photo) from Bhubaneswar, Odisha. I consider myself fortunate to be a part of the Ekta Parishad family. My parents, Bijoy (state coordinator of Odisha) and Dolly (activist of EP Odisha) have been a part of Ekta Parishad for 18 years now.
Ever since I was a child, I have been part of many actions conducted by Ekta Parishad. Soon after the pandemic, my parents and the EP team members started helping people who were affected by the pandemic. My mother informed me that EP has decided to support 2000 children in Odisha, especially children who belong to very poor families and don't have access to nutritious food.
I felt proud being a small member of the Ekta Parishad family. I feel even more proud when I see EP team members working hard to provide food & nutritional supplements to kids who really need it. Someday, I wish to play a bigger role in all of this great work."
Ekta Parishad’s Work With Children
Ekta Parishad believes that focusing on children, their well-being and their education can create a significant generational shift in their lives. Children of migrant workers, tribal and other marginalised communities have been subject to many injustices.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many children, especially in the rural areas, are deprived of sufficient and nutritious food. This affects their physical health and makes them more vulnerable to diseases and ailments.
Since its inception, Ekta Parishad has always had work focused on children, especially to ensure nutritional supplements, better health conditions and education for them.
Currently, during the COVID-19 crisis, we have an aim to reach out to 30,000 children across 17 states of India by providing special homemade nutritional supplements like Sattu (a protein-rich preparation) and Dalia (porridge). To date, we have reached out to 17,000 children under the first phase of this children-specific relief action.
Stories From The Grassroots: COVID-19 Relief Work With A Focus On Children
Bibinika Pradhan from Kandhamal, Odisha
"The Kotagarh block of Kandhamal district in Odisha is home to the Kondh tribe. I have been living here since 2004 and came here soon after I joined Ekta Parishad. I am very happy to support the tribal children by providing tasty Sattu during these difficult times.
I believe that children need both nutrition as well as good taste in their food. The homemade Sattu is perfect to provide both and there is an increasing demand from children as well as their parents for it.
To date, I have already supported 200 children in my district and hope to reach out to many others in the coming days."
Nurani Jain from Gariaband, Chhattisgarh
"Doomarbahra is located in a dense forest zone of Gariaband district in Chhattisgarh. Schools and Anganwadis are closed since March 2020, which has led to a lot of problems for the 92 children who were enrolled for their primary and middle-level education in these schools.
Similarly, nearly 29 children below 6 years of age who were enrolled in the Anganwadis also remain unattended. With support from Ekta Parishad, I decided to start relief operations by first addressing the children and ensuring they receive nutritional food supplements that are ready to eat, along with honey.
I am glad to say that to date we have distributed nutritional food supplements to nearly 2000 children in Chhattisgarh."
Sarswati Uike from Raisen, Madhya Pradesh
"Soon after the lockdown began, I visited Dhoop Ghata in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh. Villagers there complained that no Government representatives had reached there.
The Anganwadi workers and Sarpanch (head of village) were very happy when I told them that Ekta Parishad is ready to support children in the village with nutritional supplements.
With the help of villagers, we’ve been carrying out a successful relief operation in Dhoop Ghata. The children are now well fed with the tasty homemade Sattu. I have also informed the local officials about this work and they appreciate the support of Ekta Parishad."
Rajkumari from Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh
"Being a grassroots activist specialising in the issues faced by women and children, I am always keen to protect children first.
Our team pioneered the effort to provide food & nutrition to women & children in the beginning of the pandemic. Thinking about the future, our team had already started preparations during the onset of the second wave and soon after the lockdown was lifted, we started our relief operations.
We ensured supplementary nutritional food to the children in Sheopur. We have a goal to reach out to more than 300 villages, which are home to the Sahariya tribal community."
Behind The Scenes: The Making of Sattu, A Protein-rich Preparation
Voices of the Grassroots: Mansuia and Loryalakshmi from Manipur
"When we saw our parents (Rishi – state coordinator of Manipur and Bidyarani – activist of EP Manipur) and elders packing the food items, we also wanted to help out. However, we weren’t allowed to and we were very upset about that.
We saw them working hard to pack, count, sort out and load the food in the vehicles, transporting it to the villages and distributing it to people. While doing this, they often came home late.
We heard stories from our parents that villagers and especially children are very happy to have received the food. We also wanted to meet all of them, especially the children. Earlier, they used to take us with them to the village meetings and we enjoyed meeting lots of children. We hope we can do that again soon!"