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

During the end of my AIF Clinton Fellowship, another rapid COVID relief initiative was started with my host organization, Turn Your Concern Into Action (TYCIA). We walked around neighbourhoods in Delhi to identify street vendors who we could train around precautions that can be taken during COVID-19. We also chose to give them a start-up capital to restart or upgrade their businesses.

Here is a case study from one street vendor we met in R.K Puram in Delhi, India:

Name: Bhuwanchand Bhatt
Native Place: Almora, Uttrakhand

Bhuwanchand has been living in Delhi for the past 36 years. He has a mother, wife, and two children and they reside in Almora, Uttrakhand. The son’s age is 17 years old, and the daughter’s age is 19 years old. His children are studying and live with their mother. He lives alone in Delhi for the past 36 years far away from his family. He has a tea stall, and he lives in his stall.

A man with his food stall

He went home during lockdown for three and a half months during the first wave of the pandemic. During the second wave of the pandemic, he could not back home as he could not get vaccinated, and hence, he stayed in Delhi despite wanting to go back home as he really wanted to go back to his family.

He earns around 3000-4000 per month. He is unable to save and however much he saves he sends back for his children’s education. He is uncertain about his future, and he believes he wants to leave everything to destiny. Through the support capital, he wants to buy raw materials such as cups, sugar to maintain and improve his stall.

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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