Diverted focus from other entailing issues
Osama Manzar, Founder and Director of Digital Empowerment Foundation spoke with Utkarsh Rawat—who is the project head in Barabanki district of U.P. which is known as the weavers cluster. He is contributing actively as a Digital Foot Soldier to help people in the Covid-19 crisis.
“In Barabanki the weavers are in trouble due to the crisis. They have not been paid for the previous orders because there is no way of transporting the products. There haven’t been new orders also. This is causing intense financial crisis and they are really struggling.
The weavers are struggling with work. They are facing a challenging situation because provision stores are shut and they have to buy provisions from the black market. The prices of the commodities have shot up and the demand is more than the supply, but in the case of perishable items, such as vegetables, the farmers are forced to sell them for undervalued price because the mandirs are shut.
People are supporting each other with ration and other essential needs. The government is also assisting people with food through the police, but people avoid taking assistance from them, because the police raid their houses before delivering food packets and make a video to keep them from hoarding tendency.
To improve livelihood situation to some extent, we are sourcing cotton bedsheets from Lucknow, to locally produce cotton masks by soochnapreneurs . We distributed 700-800 masks produced in the first lot for free, but for the second lot we charged a nominal amount to cover some expenses. This has generated livelihood opportunity for a few weavers.