On 23 March, as part of his COVID-19 response strategy, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, announced a nationwide lockdown that was to be effective beginning the midnight of the same day.

Soon after, hoards of migrant workers started trickling out of major urban centres such as Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Ahmedabad on foot. Unemployed, starved, scared and distressed, they just wanted to go back to their home towns and villages. However, for most of them, it meant an arduous long-distance walk, often covering hundreds of kilometres.

As the days passed by, it became clear that India was staring at an unprecedented humanitarian crisis of gigantic proportions. The migrant caravan was termed by the press as a ‘long march’. The Guardian called it “the greatest exodus since partition”. According to a report by Scroll, at least 22 migrants died on their walk back home.

Many other migrant workers who are employed in the formal and informal economies of Indian cities, in addition to those who live on the streets, are stranded and starving due to lack of wages and ration. They need immediate help from their fellow Indians to get by this testing time.

There are also several others in the rural hinterlands and urban centres who are badly hit due to the ongoing crisis and the resultant break in daily economic activities and supply chains. For them, it is not merely the virus that could spell doom, but the very nature of their precarious lives.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of donation portals through which you can make a contribution – in cash or kind – to help the workers in distress.

  1. OurDemocracy.in / crowdfund campaign started by Abu Sufiyan / card payments, net banking, UPI
  2. Oxfam India / relief and hygiene assistance to marginalised communities / card payments, UPI, net banking
  3. Drivers 2020 / local volunteer aid network in National Capital Region, with focus on Noida / bank transfers
  4. Rapid Response / distributes hygiene and dry ration relief supplies to the rural poor and daily wage workers / bank transfers, card payments, net banking, cheques/DD
  5. Uday Foundation / distributes hygiene and dry ration relief supplies to the homeless / PayTm, net banking, card payments, UPI
  6. Akshaya Patra / distributes cooked meals and dry ration to the marginalised, including stranded migrant workers, night shelter occupants, daily wage earners, etc. / card payments, net banking
  7. Belur Math / relief assistance by Ramakrishna Mission / card payments, net banking
  8. PayTM’s ‘India Fights Corona’ campaign / distribution of hygiene items (soaps, hand washes) to the marginalised section through Lifebuoy and YouWeCan / PayTM payment methods
  9. Action Aid / distributes hygiene and dry ration relief supplies to the rural and urban poor / card payments, UPI, net banking
  10. Indian Red Cross Society / distributes essential commodities such as food, dry ration, water, vegetables among the needy especially migrant workers, homeless, the elderly and communities living in remote areas / card payments, net banking, bank transfers
  11. HelpAge India / targeted assistance to poor senior citizens / card payments, UPI, net banking, cheque,
  12. Give 4 Good / prevention and precaution drives / card payments, net banking, cheques/DDs
  13. Donate Kart / distributes hygiene kits to the elderly / card payments, net banking
  14. Milaap / distributes relief aid to daily wage workers / card payments, net banking
  15. Relief funds set up by union and state governments / multi-purpose, delivery of essential goods and services / bank transfers

Note: This list will be updated as and when deemed relevant.

Featured image by Thomas Gerlach from Pixabay.