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COVID-19 Latest: This is How Women Farmers are Helping Marathawada Fight against Lockdown Crisis

Pronami Chetia
Pronami Chetia

The women farmers of Marathawada region, Maharashtra has come up with an innovative idea of helping the poor and unprivileged amid the nationwide lockdown. As per reports, groups of five distribute food grains and soaps, and spread awareness on containing the pandemic. As per reports, the women farmers of Marathwada who believe ‘self-help is the best help’ have formed small groups to ensure that no one sleeps on an empty stomach. They are also helping the district administration contain the spread of the pandemic. 

“The lockdown is having a major impact on women, especially women farmers and widows,” said Archana Mane from Ansurda village in Osmanabad. “There is no work, no wages, and very little foodgrain. The situation is worsening as those who had migrated to cities are now back in the villages. We have joined hands to collect food grain and other essential requirements like soaps and provide them to needy women.” Archana and other women have approached big farmers in the locality to collect food grain and distribute it to needy families. 

As per the report of ‘Business Line’, there are about 1,500 women like Archana who are working in groups of five with gram panchayats to ensure that villagers get sufficient food grain and also protect themselves from the infection. These women are part of the Sakhi Task Force (STF), formed in 300 villages across Latur, Osmanabad, Nanded and Solapur districts. The Swayam Shikshan Prayog has activated the STF, which is working with gram panchayats on home and community quarantine, detection of early symptoms and referrals to health centres. The task force has identified 5,000 households that are headed by women, or are landless, for ration and hygiene kit distribution. 

“If supported, women lead the crisis action from the front. Our sakhis are educators and counsellors, and keeping up the social fabric or spirit with physical distancing,” Prema Gopalan, founder and Executive Director of Swayam Shikshan Prayog, told BusinessLine. 

Jaishree Koli from Nagarsuga village said the women have voluntarily stepped out to help others. “We have to play a role in the hour of crisis and can't just hope that everything will be right without any effort,” she added. 

“Poor farmers and landless labourers are worried about the future. We are telling them that whatever is the circumstance, we shall fight together,” said Archana. 

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