Prabhu, a 29 year old digital entrepreneur has been working in the district of West Champaran, Bihar, as a DEF representative from the past few years. As a digitally equipped SoochnaPreneur (Information Entrepreneur) he has been diligently serving the people in his village Fachkahar by providing access to digital services and ensuring government entitlements. When the Covid-19 Pandemic put the country in a lockdown, most people realized that their role in society was to stay home and break the chain. However, Prabhu wanted to do something to help the community; he assessed the effects of the lockdown in his area along with SoochnaPreneurs Bandana Kumari, Brij, Anand and Akshay Kumar. They saw that as in the rest of the country, in West Champaran too, the poor people are suffering the brunt of the lockdown the most. The prices of basic necessities have gone up and the poor can’t even afford a meal a day.
In a situation like this, one can’t afford to opt for safety measures like wearing masks, washing their hands with soap and sanitizing, when fighting hunger is the main concern. The threat of the virus thus becomes distant to them. Prabhu and his team started stitching masks and distributing to those who could not afford them. They have distributed masks to nearly 350 people.
They are also doing a door-to-door awareness campaign wherein they are informing them about the risks of stepping out and the importance of maintaining proper hygiene. Since the lockdown has limited the movement, the SoochnaPreneurs opted for a telephonic awareness campaign for those living in the surrounding villages. “We have spoken to more than 6000 people from about 50 villages about COVID-19 and have also discussed the measures they should take to stay safe,” Prabhu said.
The government is putting all those who are returning to their villages on a quarantine wherein they are kept in a building outside the village. However, Prabhu mentioned that their basic needs are not being taken care of such as food. The villagers here stepped in to cook food for them which is then being delivered by the SoochnaPreneurs.
Prabhu and his colleagues raised this issue with the relevant government department. The local authorities congratulated him and his team and encouraged them to continue until they can find a long term solution.
The government had announced a Covid-19 relief package under which the beneficiaries receive a certain amount due to the lockdown. But the limited working hours of the banks has made it difficult for the villagers to access their entitlement. The SoochnaPreneurs initiated ‘home-delivery’ of banking services and are providing this amount through micro-ATM device for 1% commission of the total amount. This ensured that the beneficiaries follow social distancing and do not have to step out of their houses and stand in long queues at the banks.
Digital Empowerment Foundation has SoochnaPreneurs like Prabhu working in 600 locations across India under DEF’s on-going Covid-19 Digital Emergency Relief Programme. They are all at the forefront of the crisis this pandemic has caused and are working towards finding immediate solutions. Your contribution can help them continue their efforts to serve the community. Click here to donate.