Stories from the Field I: Engaging with the Community in Trying Times

My time with the AIF Clinton Fellowship was one with a full scope of vicarious experiences. My host organization was running an India Against Corona (IAC) campaign under which they provided direct cash transfers to some beneficiaries. Here I document a touching case study of a beneficiary from Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh.

Anandi Shree Ram Kasdekar’s father, Omkar age 45 years is a native of Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh. Shree Ram Ji was an agricultural labourer. There are two brothers and the agricultural land had been divided between these two brothers. They cultivate maize, tuvar, money, and Kharif crops. This has not been produced in a sustained quantity to help them survive the whole year. Apart from this, they had two bullocks and one goat in their livestock. But the bullocks had to be sold for the treatment of Shree Ram.

Apart from this, the whole family migrates for 8 months in a year to Maharashtra. If we talk about the house, then they have got the benefit in 2019-20 under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Now after Shree Ram’s, the entire responsibility of the house has come on his son Kailash who is 20 years old and his wife. After Shree Ram’s departure, his family completely broke down. The certificate of Shri Ram Ji’s death 16/4/2021 from Covid was not found because Shree Ram Ji was being taken to the hospital and he died on the way. Asha Bai and her family members told us because she was having difficulty in breathing, her blood pressure had become high, fever was very high. At the same time, the family members delayed taking them to the hospital due to not being educated and due to superstition.

There are seven members in Shree Ram’s family, two daughters, two sons, one daughter-in-law, one child, and his own wife. Shri Ram died due to the second wave of Corona. Shree Ram’s elder son Kailash wants to do business by rearing goats to run his house because he believes that they can do animal husbandry, labour farming work well but cannot do any other work well. Therefore, the team of Musht Samaj Seva Samiti prepared the amount given by TYCIA Foundation to buy goats.

Kailash and his mother told that now we have bought five goats for Rs 15,400. They have brought the goats from Singote which is 52 km away from Sendhwal and earlier they had brought them from Gudi which is 35 km away from Sendhwal where has a good market of cattle. And in terms of transportation resources, they have nothing but the bus as a primary transportation resource. Due to the rainy season, there are problems in going from village to village

Four people standing next to cattle
The family starting a new life with the cattle.

to find goats. And due to the absence of a mobile network, it is not possible to find out from any family members and friends. In between these hardships due to the cash transfer the livestock has increased and helped in increasing their livelihood resource.

Shivranjani is serving as an American India Foundation (AIF) Clinton Fellow with TYCIA Foundation in Delhi. For her fellowship project, she is designing and implementing a long-term impact monitoring and evaluation strategy to further the organization’s criminal justice reform work. Being a social and cultural psychologist by training, Shivranjani has developed a deep inclination towards several social and contemporary issues that can be researched and solved at an interdisciplinary level. Her passion for applying to the AIF Clinton Fellowship emanated from her personal and professional background. Her experience of working as a counsellor and life skills trainer with young people from different backgrounds has given her insights into the subjective lived realities of youth in India from an intersectional perspective. As a primary component of her Master’s degree in social and cultural psychology, she has lived, worked, and studied in four geographically and culturally distinct countries in Europe and Asia. These experiences have facilitated her process of understanding different migration systems and cultural systems in different countries through a gendered lens and given her a holistic perspective on the work conducted at TYCIA Foundation, her fellowship host organization. She is looking forward to serving as an AIF Clinton Fellow as it will provide her an invaluable opportunity to create a more empathetic, hopeful, and kinder society through action research by strengthening the projects to reduce recidivism and induce integration.

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