Karuna During Corona : A Unique Movement Encouraging People To Donate One Month Salary Or 1 % Net Worth For The Needy

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Have you been one of those who felt the lockdown was right? Or one of those who felt that the lockdown brought more problems than COVID 19? Either way, for now, it seems like our country chose lives over the economy. While we all are doing our best to stay safe, the question on all of our minds is how we will rebuild the lives of the poorest, most underserved and our economy. Prakhar Bhartiya,  a ‘ Karuna During Corona ‘ volunteer said, “ While we are all concerned about migrants in the unorganised sector and looking at giving them rations or food, no one likes to get doles. We will need to look at getting them back into productive employment. This will be a mighty big challenge since almost most of these people will not have any money post lockdown and will need seed money to get started again.” He advocates becoming a ‘ Karuna During Corona ’ champion in order to help.

Karuna During Corona
Some of the ‘Karuna During Corona’ pledgers who pledged one month or morethan one month salary or some part of their net worth.

When it comes to migrants. It’s important to understand the definition. Economic migration in search of better livelihood opportunities has been happening for centuries. A lot of us are no longer at the place from where our forefathers originated. What differentiates us from migrant labourers who take up various jobs such as electricians, construction workers, masons is that the nature of their work is unorganised. They get paid every day for the work they do whereas you or I fall under the organised skilled labour category who get paid on a monthly basis. We’re probably even in a position to save money for a rainy day. These migrant labourers, a sizable population, earn on a daily basis – to buy essentials and fill their stomachs. The lockdown due to the COVID-19 has meant that migrant labourers and self-employed people do not have work and hence, no money. On the surface, it seems like the crisis is only till the lockdown is in place. 

Upon looking closer, the lockdown has caused a domino effect with aviation, hospitality, cleaning and various other services being hit – thereby affecting all dependent services. In the plethora of crises which have hit our country, be it floods, famines, terrorist attacks, earthquakes or the likes, never before have we witnessed such restriction of movement and mobility – for ourselves or the supply chains! The uniqueness of this situation – uncertainty at every level, has led to a deeper impact. The migrant labourers walking home due to uncertainty is just one such impact. This is something that caught the eye and hearts of everyone watching.

This situation has thrown a curveball – everyone has felt the pinch, therefore everyone will pull back and spend less where possible. For example, if you planned on getting a new saree embroidered you might no longer do it at this point or if you planned on buying a bathtub or jacuzzi and get the plumbing done for it, you might hold off on that. Pause for a minute and think of the implications of this on the person at the very end of the line – the individual, who was perhaps going to do the karigari (labour) on the saree – and the family of that individual, who is dependent on that individual. At this stage, the real impact of the lockdown is only partially visible.

Due to these economic disruptions at different levels, each of these chains has to be rebuilt carefully in order to restore the economy back to its health. We can give rations and cooked food to these poor people but no one likes to be unproductive and not useful. Nobody likes receiving welfare amounts without a chance to live in dignity. Thus, a group of millennials have come together and started a unique pledge to aid the fight to get our lowest denomination, back to productive work. This pledge is called the Karuna During Corona. 

The Karuna During Corona 

The pledge is one that can be undertaken, either by pledging one month’s salary or 1% of one’s personal wealth in order to support Covid-19 relief work. Karuna During Corona is not an NGO and doesn’t give any tax receipts. What one can do by taking the pledge is that one can donate to any non-profit or state/central govt disaster management fund within the next 6 months to successfully execute the pledge. Why is 1% of the wealth or one month’s salary, by design? This is because the amount pledged is not a big enough number to cause any serious economic dent to the giver but at the same time, it does pinch the giver, enough to reassess what it is, that one is ready to live without or sacrifice this year. After all, as Mother Teresa has said, “This is the meaning of true love, to give until it hurts.”

The idea of the pledge came about when a couple of people successfully managed to raise Rs. 30 lakhs, for specific Covid-19 relief causes and realised that no amount would be enough to deal with the onslaught of the lockdown. They decided to come together and launch this platform, where people could see others just like them, willing to stretch a bit and go out of their way to pledge a significant slice of their pie. 

Says Vineet Saraiwala, another pledger, “Sometimes, I wonder that had I been 40, I would have been in the best position & circumstances to start my service journey. I reflect myself that I could still shut down myself from the suffering around the world because I have a comfortable home, food to eat & money in my bank account. I can start giving back when I have earned enough after the accumulation of wealth in my old age. That is also a choice but this disaster has made me determined to do my bit at this very moment. I wish to bury all contradictions & rationales till the time this crisis is here & drench myself into a journey of service.”

You can take your pledge here 


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It's not how much we give
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- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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