Jaume Sanllorente Informs Us about the New Guidelines of Our Projects amid Covid-19
Mumbai Smiles Foundation is reshaping their actions in the field to counter back the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
India has become the second most country in the world with the highest number of cases of Covid-19. The lockdown began in India on March 25 with less than 100 registered cases and it started with very strict measures to refrain the further spread, by taking into account the measures suggested by the WHO which recommends one doctor for every 1,000 inhabitants but without considering the population of India and without taking into account private healthcare they appointed one doctor for every 11,000 (1:11000) inhabitants, which seemed more than justified.
However, the actions taken to stop the infections did not take into account that the lock down convicted millions of people, mostly daily wagers who emigrated from their small villages to the metro cities, to be left with zero income by not being able to go out to work and to limit their existence to the overcrowded huts or forced them to live on the streets in their neighbourhoods where maintaining social distancing and basic hygiene conditions is almost impossible. The need to survive has led thousands of people to take difficult paths to return to their native places in search of support networks, a fact that has visibly contributed in the rise of cases, contrary to what was sought.
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Since the beginning of the week, India occupies the second position in the world, with more than 4 million cases of coronavirus and a daily increase, currently, around 90,000 cases and with no prospects that the curve will flatten in the coming days or weeks. Specifically Maharashtra, the state of Mumbai where we conduct all our projects, is at the forefront within the country in terms of the number of people affected by both the disease and the socioeconomic consequences of it. As a result the most underprivileged communities in Mumbai are in extremely vulnerable situations.
At Mumbai Smiles, since the beginning of the pandemic, we have worked on an emergency basis to respond to the community needs with whom we work. We have insisted very much on offering quality information about the disease, its prevention and on how to access the health system, as well as on the distribution of hygiene materials and food and water, since in our fifteen years of work we had never faced a misery of this gravity. And we have been in regular contact with our beneficiaries to keep track of their situation.
This week, Jaume Sanllorente, General Director and a Founder of Mumbai Smiles Foundation, informed us from Madrid, where he is, waiting for regular flights to India to reopen so that he can return as soon as possible to his home in Mumbai, the decision to reformulate the set of actions planned in the field during the coming months, to prevent the footprint of the pandemic from becoming harsher and deeper with families with fewer resources: homeless families and victims of human trafficking, with whom we work.
New approach for the new normal
As a first measure, he announced the creation of a crisis manual that the organization is going to be equipped itself to govern this situation and others that may arise in the future. Always prioritize the well-being of people by putting them in the centre, the maximum safety of the communities and the team will be driven in all the actions promoted.
In summary, the organization will continue to focus its action on raising awareness and information to prevent the disease and for this; we will use spaces such as kindergartens or the Smiling Bus that will allow us to expand the radius of impact. We will also continue with the distribution of material, such as masks that despite costing 20 rupees, in most of the cases are not affordable, advice and support for the access to the health system. Also, we will conduct campaigns to avoid a greater deterioration of the spaces with the new waste.
The curriculum will be adapted at all levels to continue promoting access to education at the preschool level and also work with young adolescents, through the LSE (Life Skills Empowerment) program. This adaptation will take into account the different levels of literacy in families, as well as connectivity, which will be reinforced in all cases. Tablets will be offered that may be used only by students and their families, to also ensure certain independence to report against the event of sexual harassment and / or assaults on the minor.
The preschool teachers, who had started a process to self-manage them, will continue to count on the support of the Foundation both in the economic aspect and in the management and training aspect.
Food distribution will continue to be guaranteed so that children enrolled in kindergartens continue to maintain an adequate level of health and nutrition. Also, From the Jump2Justice project, work will be done to ensure that the families that are left out of the ration cards, due to lack of documentation, have access to these government aids.
Assistance and shelter will be offered to the women who are victims of Human Trafficking and for those lock down with their pimps is unsustainable, they will be offered to participate in occupational training workshops.
Also through the “Covid Angels” program, people who must be in quarantine or undergoing treatment for the disease will be accompanied.
Briefly, a temporary shift in our actions, which consolidates us in the mission of achieving a Mumbai free of poverty, in the words of Jaume Sanllorente himself: “The so-called new normal cannot be an excuse to normalize poverty.” The challenge for India and for the entire world without a doubt needs a global response, committed and a great deal of innovation and adaptability.